The United States and Japan have agreed to add a second U.S. anti-ballistic missile radar installation in Japan, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced in Tokyo Sept. 17.
During a news conference following separate meetings with Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Koichiro Gemba and Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto, Panetta and Morimoto both discussed the radar’s significance.
“The United States and Japan have begun coordination on the future deployment of additional ‘Tippy-Two’ surveillance radar to Japan,” the secretary said. “The purpose of this is to enhance our ability to defend Japan. It’s also designed to help forward-deployed U.S. forces, and it also will be effective in protecting the U.S. homeland from the North Korean ballistic missile threat.”
The continued close cooperation on ballistic missile defense reflects the two countries’ joint commitment to the alliance, and to promoting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
The secretary responded to a question on China’s likely reaction to the new radar installation in Japan. Panetta, whose next stop on this trip will be to Beijing, said it’s no secret to China that the United States is concerned about the ballistic missile threat North Korea poses.
“It’s for that reason that we believe it’s very important to move forward with this … radar. … We have made these concerns very clear to the Chinese, that North Korea and the use of these ballistic missiles is a threat to our security, … and we’ve also made clear that we will take steps to protect the United States and … our allies from that threat,” he said. “And I will continue to make that point with the Chinese when I have the opportunity to meet with them.”
While he agrees that the radar is important for Japanese, U.S. and regional defense, Morimoto said, the United States and Japan have yet to decide on a location for the second radar. “I don’t think we are at the juncture to discuss this yet,” he said in response to a question at the news conference.
A defense official traveling with Panetta told reporters on background the radar, a second Army Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance system, or AN-TPY-2, will augment one previously set up in Shariki on the northern part of Honshu island. A team from the United States arrived in Japan this week to work with Japanese officials in determining a site for the new radar, the official added.
The official said the radar is not a defense against China, but rather against the growing ballistic missile threat North Korea poses to “the U.S. homeland as well as U.S. citizens, our deployed forces, allies and partners in the region.”
“U.S. missile defense and Japan are focused on deterring North Korean aggression,” the official said, “and if deterrence fails, defending against the growing arsenal of North Korean ballistic missiles. North Korea has hundreds of ballistic missiles that can threaten our interests … [as well as] other countries in the region.”
The official said the land-based system will bolster regional security and allow flexibility in deploying ships equipped with the same radar, now stationed in the Asia-Pacific region, to other parts of the world as needed.
“The U.S. has been committed to the collective regional security of the Asia-Pacific region for decades, and to that end we cooperate with our partners on a broad range of capabilities, including missile defense,” the official said.
According to a Missile Defense Agency fact sheet, the AN-TPY-2 is an X-band, high-resolution, phased-array radar designed specifically for ballistic missile defense, capable of tracking all classes of ballistic missiles and identifying small objects at long distances.
Used with the Ballistic Missile Defense System, the AN-TPY-2 acts as advanced “eyes” for the system, detecting ballistic missiles early in their flight and providing precise tracking information for the system’s use.