Air Defense: Protecting Tokyo Today


March 26, 2007: The Japanese are so concerned about North Korean ballistic missiles, that they are setting up Patriot anti-missile missile batteries inside Tokyo. This is because the anti-missile version of Patriot (the PAC 3) can only defend out to about twenty kilometers. These launching sites are considered "emergency launching sites." Apparently the Japanese consider the current relationship with North Korea to be an emergency, because the Patriot missiles are being brought in this month. Patriot missiles are very noisy when they launch. Basically it's a sudden, and very loud, explosion. If you are at home asleep when that happens, you will definitely wake up. This was the experience of civilians living within several kilometers of Patriot batteries in northern Saudi Arabia in 1991.

The 17 foot long PAC 3 anti-missile missiles cost about $3.4 million dollars each. The first versions of these missiles were used in 1991, and much development has taken place since then. The current PAC 3 can stop most North Korean ballistic missiles. Over the next three years, Japan will deploy Patriot batteries to sixteen sites around the country (including four in the Tokyo area.)

Japan has had poor relations with North Korea of late because the North Koreas have ignored Japanese demands that more information be provided on dozens of Japanese civilians kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s. North Korea admitted they did this, but the Japanese believe information on some of the victims is being withheld. At the moment, North Korea is making a lot of noise about the mistreatment of Koreans in Japan. All foreigners get "mistreated" in Japan, but the North Koreas are mostly concerned about Japanese crackdowns on fund raising, and criminal activity, among pro-North Korea Koreans in Japan.




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