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.