Reports: US offers Japan up to 80 Patriot missiles

The United States has offered Tokyo up to 80 US-produced advanced Patriot interceptor missiles for deployment in Japan following North Korea's missile tests last month, news reports said Thursday. The PAC-3 Patriot missiles are to be deployed at a Japanese military base in March 2007, accelerating the already-planned deployment of the advanced weapons in the country, Kyodo News agency and public broadcaster NHK said. The reports come a day after the top US commander in the Pacific said Japan and the United States plan to work closely to develop a joint missile shield to defend against the threat posed by communist North Korea.