Japan's Defense Ministry wants to develop a high-powered laser capable of shooting down missiles to boost its defenses against North Korea, a news report said Sunday. The ministry will ask for funds next fiscal year to develop a ground-based laser capable of destroying ballistic missiles in midair, according to the Mainichi newspaper. The ministry is also considering an anti-missile laser that can be mounted on an aircraft, the report said, citing unidentified officials. Unlike the Patriot missile defense system, which Japan began deploying in March, lasers would shoot down missiles shortly after they are launched, the Mainichi said. Patriot missiles can only shoot down missiles at later stages of their trajectory.