00:05 GMT +317 October 2018
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    Aegis Ashore Weapon System

    Locals Against US BMDs in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture

    CC BY 2.0 / U.S. Missile Defense Agency / Aegis Ashore
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    The authorities of Yamaguchi’s city of Abu have adopted a petition calling for the abolition of the Aegis Ashore plan; Mayor Norihiko Hanada has supported the move.

    Sputnik talked to Masaaki Morikami from the Japanese Civil Society against the deployment plan of American Aegis Ashore missile defense complexes.

    Masaaki Morikami: The petition was drafted on September 11 and unanimously adopted by the Abu Municipal Assembly. What I consider the most significant thing is that both City Council members and the mayor have heard the local residents and unanimously protested against the Aegis Ashore deployment in the prefecture. I am deeply impressed by this move by our government.

    READ MORE: Japanese Abu Town Mayor Opposes Aegis Ashore Deployment Nearby — Reports

    I know that Russia and China have repeatedly expressed concerns about the deployment of Aegis Ashore complexes in Japan, as these will upset the balance of power in Asia. The official story is that these complexes are means of protection from North Korea. However, I think that in fact they're aimed at Russia and China; they are also designed to protect the United States itself.

    On September 18, Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, said that the Aegis Ashore systems could be used to intercept Guam-bound missiles from North Korea; Itsunori Onodera, the country's minister of defense, agreed with him. Such statements lead to Japan's loss of international trust; I consider this to be a strengthening of the US-Japan alliance. The Abu government has long been buying US weapons at prices dictated by the United States. As a result, Japan's defense spending has reached a record high. I'm deeply concerned that the Aegis Ashore deployment in Japan runs counter to peaceful diplomacy in Asia, especially in light of the ongoing negotiations between South and North Koreas."

    The views and opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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