Japan will begin military drills involving its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air and missile defense interceptors amid multiple missile launches by North Korea in recent weeks, the Japanese Defense Ministry announced.
The exercises, which will begin Thursday, are aimed at boosting the defensive capabilities of its PAC-3 interceptor and Aegis destroyers, the shields Japan has in place to block a hypothetical missile attack from North Korea.
The drills will continue through June 26 and will include the transportation and deployment of the PAC-3 launchers in four military bases across the country, beginning with the Komaki air base in the central Aichi prefecture.
At a press conference Tuesday, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada stressed the importance of improving tactical capabilities amid the worsening security situation in the region, especially around Japan, and added the exercises will "help the public feel safe and secure."
Although Japan's Air Self-Defense Force has conducted such exercises several times in the past, this is the first time since 2013 that the ministry has made them public.
The ministry added that Japan will continue taking part in its regular joint exercises with the United States to perfect its anti-missile defense capabilities.
There have been growing concern in Japan over repeated missile tests by North Korea, many of which have fallen into the Sea of Japan.