Japan is considering bringing in more Patriot PAC-3 air defense missile systems to shield its territory from North Korean missiles heading for the U.S. island of Guam, local media said Friday.
The report comes after North Korea said it is "seriously examining" a plan to fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over western Japan at a spot some 30 to 40 km off the coast of the island of Guam.
The surface-to-air missile interceptors were deployed in Shimane, Hiroshima, Ehime and Kochi prefectures, where normally no PAC-3 units are stationed.
The PAC-3 deployment is created to prepare for a contingency if any North Korean missiles malfunction and come down over Japan for technological or other reasons.
Regional tensions are mounting as Washington and Pyongyang ratchet up their war of words, with Trump warning Pyongyang.
Flash Flood Watch Cullman County Friday August 11 2017
Meteorologists expect a lull in the rainfall Friday before storm chances pick back up again Saturday night and into Sunday. Forecasters said the rain is ending in the Huntsville area as of 10:40 p.m., but the flooding is expected to continue.
Japan's territory is protected by 34 short-range PAC-3 systems. As per the television footages, Japan's military vehicles carried launchers and other equipment.
Japan's missile defense scheme employs Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers to shoot down airborne missiles, and the Air Self-Defense Force's PAC-3 system to counter missiles that evade Aegis interceptors.
The ministry did not confirm whether Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has already issued an order to shoot down incoming missiles.
Japan has deployed the missile interceptors in the past ahead of other North Korean launches but has never actually shot anything down. In 2009, a North Korean rocket passed over Japanese territory without incident or any attempt to shoot it down.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged US President Donald Trump on Saturday to avoid rhetoric that could inflame tensions with North Korea as an escalating war of words raised global alarm.