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U.S.-Japan Deploy Additional AWACS Over the East Sea

Posted March. 21, 2003 22:21,   


The U.S. and Japanese governments are planning to additionally send E767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force over the East Sea in preparation for possible North Korean provocation at a time when the U.S. is now fully absorbed in its war against Iraq, Japanese news reports said on March 21.

The U.S. government had recently requested the Japanese government to send additional AWACS over the East Sea because it is necessary to step up guards and surveillance operations against the North during the U.S.-led war against Iraq. And the Japanese government decided to accept the request, Japan’s Asahi Simbun reported.

While the U.S. Air Force stationed in Japan possesses only one AWACS plane, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force has as many as four of the surveillance planes. The U.S. request is interpreted that it called for Japan’s cooperation to strengthen its surveillance over the East Sea to prepare for possible North Korean provocation, such as a missile launch. Since early this month when a U.S. surveillance flight was overshadowed by a North Korean plane, the U.S. has carried out stepped-up surveillance against the North by mobilizing its AWACS.

In addition, Tokyo Shimbun reported that Japan’s Defense Ministry would provide the U.S. with information collected by AWACS of the Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force for the first time. A senior Japanese official at the defense ministry said, “North Korea is highly likely to launch a ballistic missile to draw international attention during the Iraqi war.”