Govt. Puts Off Missile Defense System Field Survey

Govt. puts off missile defense system field survey

Japan's Defense Ministry has decided to postpone a procedure to deploy a new missile defense system due to opposition from candidate host communities.

The ministry hopes to install one Aegis Ashore unit each in Self-Defense Force grounds in the western city of Hagi and the northern city of Akita.

The ministry was scheduled to start accepting applications on Thursday for bidders to conduct field surveys in the 2 cities.

The successful bidder would conduct geological surveys and see how the deployment would affect people's lives.

But the cities argue that the ministry's briefings for residents aren't enough to dispel their concerns and have asked the ministry to postpone the surveys.

The ministry has concluded that opposition will become stronger if it goes ahead without getting understanding from residents.

Ministry officials say they will give more a detailed explanation about the system and its possible impact before resuming the procedure.

Aegis Ashore is intended to shield the country from North Korean missiles. But an imminent missile launch has become less likely since the US-North Korean summit in June, leaving the government no reason to rush.