Iwaya Apologizes For Aegis Ashore Issues

Iwaya apologizes for Aegis Ashore issues

Japan's Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya has apologized to the governor of Akita Prefecture for incidents related to the planned deployment of a land-based missile interceptor system known as Aegis Ashore.

Iwaya met with Governor Norihisa Satake at the prefectural office on Monday.

Local opposition to the plan has increased over the series of incidents.

These include the government's use of flawed data to show that the Ground Self-Defense Force's training area in Akita City is a suitable site for the placement of the missile defense system.

Residents also complained when a defense official dozed off at a public meeting that the government had convened to apologize for the misinformation.

Iwaya said he is deeply sorry, as these incidents could make people question the sincerity of the Defense Ministry.

He said the ministry will launch a taskforce in charge of the matter and conduct another survey of candidate sites for the deployment.

He added that Aegis Ashore is indispensable and he will make sincere efforts to restore public trust.

Satake said the public wants an honest explanation, not a cautious response.

He asked Iwaya to review the deployment plan from scratch to allow comparisons to be made with other candidate sites on such factors as topographical suitability and infrastructure costs.

Satake added that the prefecture will not discuss the deployment until this review is carried out.