June 13 (UPI) -- Japan's self-defense forces plan to conduct drills with a missile interceptor, the PAC-3, to deter incoming North Korea missiles.
The 10-day exercise is scheduled to begin Thursday and will take place on four Japanese military bases across the country, television network NHK reported Tuesday.
Japanese Defense Minister Inada Tomomi told reporters the training is "extremely important in improving the tactical capabilities needed to respond to ballistic missiles."
The PAC-3 exercises are being conducted on Japan Air Self-Defense Force Komaki Base in Aichi Prefecture, Fukuoka Base in Fukuoka Prefecture, Camp Asaka in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, and a fourth base in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Japan's air self-defense force has previously conducted missile interceptor training using the PAC-3 in October 2013.
Tomomi said the preparedness of the military against incoming ballistic missiles would be "helpful in reducing the anxiety" of the Japanese people.
"There are plans to conduct similar drills in other regions," Tomomi said, referring to plans to conduct joint missile interceptor drills with U.S. forces in Japan.
There are currently 17 PAC-3 units operating nationwide.
In 2016, Japan allocated more funds toward missile defense systems in response to North Korea's continued nuclear and missile provocations.
Last year Tokyo was planning the deployment of the Patriot Advanced Capability Missile Segment Enhancement, a powerful missile interceptor.
The PAC-3 MSE reportedly has a wider range and altitude than the PAC-3.