Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Deploys PAC-3 Missiles on Ishigaki Island

The Yomiuri Shimbun
PAC-3 surface-to-air missile units are seen on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture on Friday.

ISHIGAKI, Okinawa — The Air Self-Defense Force deployed Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air missile units on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture on Friday, following reports North Korea plans to launch what it says is a “military reconnaissance satellite.”

North Korea announced that it would conduct a launch between May 31 and June 11. A launch conducted by North Korea failed on Wednesday, but Pyongyang has said it plans to conduct another launch.

The Self-Defense Forces had planned to deploy the PAC-3 units in Ishigaki Island before the start of the period, but was not able to because of strong winds from an approaching typhoon.

The SDF will attempt to intercept any North Korean rocket that falls into Japanese territory, utilizing the PAC-3 units and Aegis system-equipped destroyers.

Vehicles equipped with missile launchers and other equipment arrived at a site on reclaimed land near Ishigaki Port on Friday afternoon when weather conditions had improved.

Ishigaki Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama said: “It’s good the deployment was made quickly after the typhoon had passed through. We will continue to accept deployments of PAC-3 units in the future.”