TOKYO — Japan on Tuesday moved a mobile missile-defense system on the northern island of Hokkaido to a base near recent North Korean missile flyover routes.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor unit was deployed at the Hakodate base on southern Hokkaido “as a precaution” as part of government preparations for a possible emergency.
The relocation came after a North Korean missile was test-fired last week and flew over southern Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific off the island’s east coast — the second flyover in less than a month.
The PAC-3 was brought from another base in Yakumo town on Hokkaido, about 50 miles northeast of Hakodate. The system has a range of about 12 miles.
Four more of Japan’s 34 PAC-3 units, largely used to defend the capital region, were relocated to southwestern Japan recently after North Korea warned of sending missiles toward the U.S.