J/FPS-5 Radar in Shimokoshiki Island, Kagoshima

J/FPS-5 Radar in Shimo-Koshikijima, Kagoshima (click for source)

The FPS-5 is Japan’s most advanced fixed radar installation in its ballistic missile defense system. Its distinctive tortoise shell-like dome covers have earned it the nickname ‘Gamera radar’ after Godzilla’s turtle-derived rival. Mitsubishi Electric produce the 34-metres high structures containing three antennae of between 12- and 18-metre diameter.

The FPS-5 prototype was constructed at the Ministry of Defense research facility in Iioka, Chiba Prefecture in 2004. At the end of 2008, the JASDF Shimo-Koshikijima Sub Base in Kagoshima Prefecture brought the first unit up and running, and the radars mistakenly detected a North Korean missile launch just a day before the Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite launch in April 2009.

The second came online in 2009 at JASDF Sado Sub Base in Niigata Prefecture, followed by the third in 2010 at JASDF Ominato Sub Base in Aomori Prefecture. Next year, the fourth FPS-5 should be up and running in the ASDF Yozodake Sub Base on Okinawa Island – it was originally scheduled to be completed in 2011, but this message from the base’s CO suggests otherwise.


Location of FPS-5 Facilities

Location of FPS-5 Facilities

Location of FPS-5 Facilities (source: Ministry of Defense)


Japanese TV coverage of Shimo-Koshikijima Facility

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch