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Japan defers Patriot missile deployment plan

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The PAC-3 system constitutes the lower part of Japan's two-layer ballistic missile shield.

TOKYO (BNS): Japan, which was mulling to deploy Patriot Advanced Capacity-3 (PAC-3) interceptor ballistic missiles at three of its air force bases in 2010, has put off the plan due to financial constraints, according to media reports.

The Defence Ministry had sought $1.1 billion to deploy the Lockheedmartin-made surface-to-air missile systems in the Hokkaido, Aomori and Okinawa air force bases over the next five years.

The government on Tuesday approved a plan to put on hold additional deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors for ballistic missile defence in fiscal 2010, which begins next April, Kyodo news agency said.

Now, a fresh decision on whether to include the PAC-3 policy in its new basic defence guideline is likely to be made in October next year, Japan Times quoted sources as saying who added that any actual deployment of the missile system would wait till fiscal 2011 or even later.

The PAC-3 system constitutes the lower part of Japan's two-layer ballistic missile shield and is designed to shoot down missiles just before they reach their targets.

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