Japan deploys missile defenses in response to North Korean threat
Early this week, North Korea warned foreigners living in South Korea to consider evacuating from the country, as they may be injured in the event a conflict breaks out. This warning was in response to the US-South Korean military exercises that began early this month and is one of many threats, AFP reports.
"In the event of war, we don't want foreigners living in South Korea to get hurt," North Korea's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. The statement also urged "all foreign organizations, companies and tourists to work out measures for evacuation."
Japan's response to the threat was to deploy PAC-3 missile defenses to protect their citizens from any potential missiles aimed at U.S. bases in the country. Two were stationed at the defense ministry in Tokyo within 24 hours of the threat having been made; two more will be deployed in two other locations in Tokyo, according to AFP.
"The government is making utmost efforts to protect our people's lives and ensure their safety," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, AFP reports.
PAC-3 batteries will also be deployed in the Okinawa Islands. Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Okinawa is the most effective place for an emergency response, and recommended that missile defenses be deployed there permanently, according to AFP.
Japan's armed forces are authorized to shoot down any missile headed towards its territory. They have also deployed Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan.