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TOKYO (Sputnik) - The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), signed by the Soviet Union and the United States, does not apply to Japan and does not have any relation to the deployment of the US Aegis ballistic missile defense system on Japanese territory, Japan's Foreign Ministry told Sputnik Friday.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the installation of the US missile defense systems in Japan would, in fact, mean that the United States had violated the treaty with the assistance of Japan.
"The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed in 1987 and came into force in 1988 and was concluded between two states, the United States and the Soviet Union. Its operation applies to only two signatory countries, the United States and Russia, Japan has no obligations under the INF Treaty. The Aegis ground ballistic missile defense system is purchased and managed by Japan… We believe that its acquisition has no relation to the INF Treaty," the statement said.
On December 19, the Japanese government announced its decision to deploy the Aegis Ashore systems on the country's territory in order to protect it and Japanese citizens from the threat posed by a potential missile attack by North Korea. Tokyo plans to install the missile defense units in the prefectures of Akita and Yamaguchi. The units are expected to start the operation by 2023.
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