In a successful test of a new anti-ballistic missile system, a Japanese navy ship intercepted a dummy ballistic missile launched from Hawaii. Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Akinori Eto says that the test was an “historic page in the U-S-Japan defense relationship.”
President George W. Bush has said that the need for missile defense is “urgent.” Three decades ago, only nine countries had ballistic missiles. Now, at least twenty-seven nations are armed with such weapons, including North Korea and Iran.
In developing its ballistic missile arsenal, North Korea has previously launched missies around areas near Japan. To help ensure its security, Japan is building an eight-billion-dollar anti-ballistic missile system in cooperation with the United States. The system will be based both at sea and on land.
In a 2006 joint statement with Japan's then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, President Bush affirmed that there had been “tremendous progress in the U-S-Japan security relationship.” Cooperation between the two countries, the leaders said, “has deepened as a result of ballistic missile defense” efforts.
In a recent press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, President Bush said “the U.S.-Japanese relationship is the cornerstone of security and peace” in Asia. “The alliance between our two countries,” said Mr. Bush, “is rooted deeply in our strong commitments to freedom and democracy.”
The United States is cooperating with other allies and friends in the effort to protect democracies from potential ballistic missile strikes. In the last six years, the U.S. has cooperated on missile defense not only with Japan, but with the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Israel.
The United States has proposed deploying limited missile defense capabilities in Poland and the Czech Republic to protect both Europe and the U.S. against the emerging threat from Iran. Under the proposal, ten defensive interceptors would be based in Poland, and a radar facility would be located in the Czech Republic. To allay Russia's "concerns", President Bush has also invited Russia to join in building a cooperative and joint regional missile defense system that would protect Russia, Europe, and the United States from ballistic missile attack.