Japan Shoots Down Dummy US Missile

Japanese expanding missile defense systems with Yank help
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2007 5:45 AM CST
A mid-range ballistic missile is fired from U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 17, 2007, as a target for Japanese military's missile defense. A Standard Missile...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A Japanese warship off Hawaii has shot down a US-made mock ballistic missile in flight over the Pacific Ocean, the BBC reports. The test, using a US-developed intercept missile, was the first of its kind by an American ally. Japan and the US stepped up their missile defense cooperation after North Korea test-fired a long-range missile over Japan in 1998.

A US Navy facility launched the mock target, and a US warship based at Pearl Harbor tracked its flight, feeding information to the Japanese ship that shot it down three minutes later.  A Japanese spokesman hailed the succesful test as vital for Japan's security, but some experts feared that it was likely to increase tensions with China.