Japan has confirmed the abolition of the US missile defense system

A few days after the government confirmed the program on Thursday, Japan canceled the expansion of the multi-billion dollar American missile defense system.

The Aegis shore system requires the interceptor to be placed under an expensive and controversial program on two fronts.

But the government has reversed course with the pressure of local residents about the damage caused by the missile defense system in their backyard.

Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the official Liberal Democratic Party conference, "The National Security Council has discussed the matter and decided to abolish the Aegis Ashor deployment in Akita and Yamaguchi."

"I want to apologize for coming to this."

Tokyo and Washington are discussing how to tackle missile threats from Pyongyang after the defense system's plan was abandoned, Kono said later Thursday.

"There is danger from North Korea," Kono told reporters.

“We are talking to the US about how to improve our ballistic missile defense capability or integrated air-missile defense capability,” he said.

"So we're trying to maximize the deal we have with the United States."

The government had initially promised that interceptor missile gear would not fall on the system-based residential areas.

Last week, when it was first announced that the system's expansion had been discontinued, Kano said expensive and time-consuming hardware upgrades were needed to keep that promise.

The Aegis shore system, which was approved in 2017, is estimated to cost Japan $ 4.2 billion over three decades.

However, there are arguments as to whether the initial estimates are lower than the actual cost.

The deal to buy the system was seen as part of Tokyo's efforts to boost defense capabilities following the North Korean missile launch, as well as to strengthen closer ties with Washington.

US President Donald Trump has pushed allies to buy more American products, including military equipment.

Japan's armed forces have long been restricted to self-defense and the country relies heavily on the US in a bilateral security bloc.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his government committed last week to consider alternatives to the Aegis shore system.

"There should be no difference in the stronghold of our country. We want to discuss the necessary measures," he said.

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