A senior Defense Ministry official says Akita Prefecture in northern Japan is one of the best locations for the planned deployment of a ground-based ballistic missile defense system.
The ministry plans to install 2 Aegis Ashore units to guard against possible missile attacks from North Korea. The candidate sites are the Self-Defense Force grounds in Akita City and Hagi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Tatsuo Fukuda made the remark in a meeting with Akita government officials on Friday.
Fukuda said the defense system will be deployed at 2 sites to protect Japan against threats. He added that the system could be swiftly installed at the SDF facilities.
Fukuda said the ministry hopes to begin ground surveys and radio transmission tests this summer.
Akita Governor Norihisa Satake says the ministry should inspect multiple candidate locations before selecting the best ones. He expressed concern that residents of Akita City may think the deployment sites have already been decided.
He asked the ministry to hold meetings with local residents before starting the inspections in Akita.
Fukuda told reporters that the ministry plans to hold meetings with local residents. He added that the ministry will study the potential impact of the deployment on the local community.