North Korea has stopped launching its ballistic missiles but this has not prevented Japan and the United States to develop interceptor missiles. The Acquisition, technology and Logistics Agency said that the US and Japan have successfully tested a missile in Hawaii called the Standard Missile-3 Block 2A. Not a lot of details have been given but according to sources this new missile system will be deployed in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures as well as on Aegis destroyers – again purely for defensive purposes to stop incoming threats from what would likely be North Korea.
Last Friday, a mock ICBM was fired and the new jointly-developed SM-3 Block 2A missile launched from a US Aegis ship in the waters around Hawaii, successfully hit this incoming target. However, it is important to note that a similar test conducted in January of this year failed. Those affiliated with the Defense Ministry reported that there are both ship-based and land-based systems for this new missile. Here at Classiarius, we have written a lot about the threat of North Korea in the context of possible mistakes – a rogue missile hitting the Japanese mainland. Of course, this would trigger a response from Japan. The first threat was fired in 1998 – a real threat – that passed from North Korea over the Japanese Island of Honshu.
Finally, note that the young Kim Jong-un, the grandson of the founder of the North Korean state, fired more missiles since taking over the state in 2011/2012 than his father and grandfather combined. This has likely been, in our view, the reason why the US and Japan have been working to build defensive missile systems. More on this topic as we get reports.