June 6 (UPI) -- Japan's Akita city is asking for an explanation from the central government about a decision to deploy the missile defense system Aegis Ashore in the region, following revelations government data was found to contain flaws.
Controversy began soon after Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told a parliamentary committee on national security there were several mistakes in the survey documents that supported the need to deploy missile interceptors in Akita, Kyodo News reported Thursday.
"I am extremely sorry this ruins the credibility of the entire investigation," Iwaya said Thursday.
Japan's military is admitting fault after it had stated a training site for the nation's self-defense force, located near the city of Akita and Yamaguchi prefecture, would be most suitable for Aegis Ashore deployment.
The defense ministry said on May 27 that 19 other candidate sites were "unfit" for Aegis Ashore deployment, Jiji Press reported.
The government survey in question included errors for terrain data on nine other areas that provided comparisons to the designated site.
Gov. Norihisa Satake of Akita Prefecture said the mistakes "significantly damage trust" with the central government.
Japan plans to deploy two Aegis Ashore interceptors, largely to prepare for possible North Korea ballistic missile attacks. In May, Pyongyang tested several short-range missiles.
The Aegis Ashore systems were approved for purchase in January by U.S. State Department. Total cost of the system is estimated at more than $2 billion.
"This proposed sale will provide the government of Japan with an enhanced capability against increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile threats and create an expanded, layered defense of its homeland," the State Department said in January.