Japan ‘didn’t convince’ Moscow that US Aegis Ashore missiles would be deployed only for defense – Russian deputy FM

Tokyo has failed to convince Moscow that it intends to deploy US Aegis Ashore missile systems on its territory solely for defensive purposes, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Friday. He made the statement after talks with his Japanese counterpart Takeo Mori. The diplomats held their meeting as part of the 11th round of the Russia-Japan strategic dialogue in Tokyo.

“We don’t believe that the deployment of these systems will serve solely the task of Japan’s defense against hypothetical strikes from North Korea,” TASS quoted the Russian diplomat as saying. “In these systems we see certain potential that may adversely affect the Russian strategic containment arsenal.”

Japan plans to deploy two Aegis Ashore missile defense systems in the Yamaguchi Prefecture in the southwest of the country’s main island of Honshu, and in the northern Akita Prefecture by 2023. However, the local authorities have not yet given their consent for the deployment.

Tokyo says the missile defense systems will shield the country’s entire territory from ballistic missile strikes.