A PAC-3 interceptor unit is deployed in the compound of a garrison of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in Konan, Kochi prefecture, Japan, Aug 12, 2017. (RYOSUKE OZAWA / KYODO NEWS VIA AP)
WASHINGTON — Japan has started deploying land-based Patriot interceptors after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea threatened to send ballistic missiles flying over western Japan and landing near Guam.
The Defense Ministry said Friday the PAC-3 surface-to-air interceptors are being deployed at four locations: Hiroshima, Kochi, Shimane and Ehime.
The deployment is largely aimed at responding to the risk of falling fragments while missiles fly over the region.
The four PAC-3 systems are brought from eastern Japan, as its missile defense is largely centered around Tokyo.
The ministry did not confirm whether Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has already issued an order to shoot down incoming missiles.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday that he would do everything he can to protect the Japanese people.
"I will do everything, to the best of my ability, to protect the safety and property of the Japanese people," said Abe.