August 24, 2005


Japan to develop rocket for joint defense system (Japan Times, 8/25/05)

The Japanese and U.S. governments have begun arranging for Japan to develop a rocket engine and the United States a warhead for the joint sea-based missile defense system, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

The missile shield system is scheduled to reach the development phase in fiscal 2006. [...]

The two countries launched the joint missile defense project in 1999, after North Korea fired a long-range missile in August 1998 whose warhead flew over Japan into the Pacific. North Korea claims it was a rocket intended to put a satellite into orbit.

Under the system, Japan would intercept an incoming ballistic missile outside the atmosphere using the SM-3 missile, fired from an Aegis-equipped destroyer.

North Korea's Nodong ballistic missile is believed to have a range of about 1,300 km, which would make it capable of targeting any part of Japan.

There is concern that stepping up Japan-U.S. cooperation on missile defense could antagonize North Korea and China at a time when the six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons threat are set to resume next week.

That's its point.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 24, 2005 9:16 PM
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