February 25, 2013 11:08
U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed in Washington on Friday to support UN sanctions against North Korea in response to the North's latest nuclear test.
The two leaders also agreed to deploy a U.S.-made early-warning radar system, called the X-band radar, at a coastal base near Kyoto to boost defenses against North Korean missiles.
The X-band radar is capable of tracking ballistic missiles up to 1,000 km away and allowing U.S. forces to intercept them. It is smaller than a sea-based x-band radar, or SBX, which can track missiles up to 4,800 km away.
Abe informed Obama that research has begun that could allow Japan to amend its postwar pacifist constitution to allow its troops to operate abroad. Article 9 of the constitution prohibits Japan from having a normal army again. Japan needs to amend the constitution if it is to take part in so-called "collective" self-defense, i.e. operations with allies such as the U.S. anti-missile scheme.
In 2006, the U.S. deployed X-band radars in Japan for the first time at a Japanese Self Defense Force base in Aomori Prefecture to track North Korean missiles. Kyodo News reported that the additional X-band radars would be deployed near Kyoto.
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