South Korea has deployed the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to protect against the North Korean threat, angering China, North Korea’s lone major ally.
Japan’s PAC-3 batteries are the last line of defense against any incoming warheads. With a range of around 15 km (9 miles), they are only able to protect larger cities and key government installations.
Advances in North Korea’s ballistic missile program have raised concern in Tokyo that its PAC-3 batteries and Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan could be overwhelmed.
Japan has begun a $1 billion program to upgrade the PAC-3s to extend their range and accuracy, but the first of those will not be ready until 2020.
In addition to public PAC-3 exercises, some Japanese prefectures have also conducted missile attack evacuation drills in recent weeks.
Japan will follow these up with a series of 30-second public information broadcasts and newspaper ads beginning Friday advising people what to do in the event of a North Korean missile attack, the Yomiuri newspaper said.
A Japanese government spokeswoman declined to comment when asked about the report.