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Japan to deploy Patriot missiles on Miyako Island near Taiwan

New PAC-3 missile battery closer to Taiwan than North Korea

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PAC-3 interceptor test launch. (Lockheed Martin photo)

PAC-3 interceptor test launch. (Lockheed Martin photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Japan announced on Monday (May 8) that it will deploy U.S.-made MIM-104F (PAC-3) Patriot missiles on Miyako Island.

During a press conference, Matsuno Hirokazu, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, announced that Japan Air Self-Defense Force's surface-to-air guided PAC-3 missiles will be deployed at its base on Miyako Island in Okinawa Prefecture, reported Jiji Press. Matsuno said this deployment is designed to defend against the threat of potential long-range ballistic missiles fired from North Korea.

Matsuno pointed out that PAC-3 missiles are already deployed at garrisons on Ishigaki and Yonaguni islands. He emphasized that "We are building an appropriate posture," and added that "We will do everything possible to ensure the peace and security of our country."

However, these southern Japanese islands are closer to Taiwan than North Korea. This raises questions as to whether the deployment could also be designed to intercept Chinese missiles.

Miyako Island is 1,459 kilometers from North Korea's southernmost city of Kaesong, but it is only 362 km from Yilan County in northeast Taiwan. Ishigaki Island is 249 km from Yilan and Yonaguni is only 130 km from the county.