US-Japan agree on new missile defense system

TOKYO — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that US and Japanese officials have agreed to put a second defense system in Japan aimed at protecting the country from the threat of a missile attack from North Korea.

The exact location of the radar installation has not yet been determined. It will be in the south, US officials said, but not on Okinawa.

Officials stressed that the system would be aimed at protecting the region against the threat from North Korea and is not directed at China.


The United States already has similar early warning radar systems on ships in the Pacific. This second Japan-based system will allow the US vessels to spread out and cover other parts of the region.

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The new installation would also be effective in protecting the United States from a North Korea threat, Panetta said during a press conference in Tokyo with the Japanese defense minister, Satoshi Morimoto. While officials insisted the radar system would not be aimed at China, the decision was sure to raise the ire of Beijing.

Panetta said he would talk to Chinese leaders to assure them that the move is about protecting the United States and the region from North Korea’s missile threat. ‘‘We have made these concerns clear to the Chinese,’’ he said. ‘‘For that reason . . . we believe it is very important to move ahead’’ with the radar system.