Fears over US missile shield in a Japan suburb hobble PM Abe's plan

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TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - The sleepy northwestern Japanese suburb of Araya seemed like the perfect place for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to put a US anti-missile system. The area had reliably backed the ruling party and had first-hand experience of a North Korean rocket flying overhead.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

TOKYO - The sleepy northwestern Japanese suburb of Araya seemed like the perfect place for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to put a US anti-missile system. The area had reliably backed the ruling party and had first-hand experience of a North Korean rocket flying overhead.

The push back is the latest sign of the limits of Mr Abe's efforts to balance Japan's deep-seated pacifism with renewed threats from North Korea and a demanding ally in US President Donald Trump. Mr Abe was counting on the Aegis Ashore system for tracking and intercepting missiles to meet two goals: protecting against North Korea and assuaging frustration over Japan's lopsided relationship with its sole ally, the US.

During a meeting of foreign and defence ministers from both countries in April, they reaffirmed their vow"to bolster capability and enhance their respective integrated defence for both air and missile threats, including through the timely and smooth deployment of Japan's Aegis Ashore." So, despite resentment over the presence of thousands of US troops and a fear of being dragged into America's conflicts, many also see efforts to build a more independent military as anathema. Mr Abe has repeatedly put off plans for a relatively small revision to the US-drafted pacifist constitution, which would make explicit the legality of Japan's Self-Defence Forces.

 

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