Japan is now the first U.S. ally to shoot down a mid-range ballistic missile in a test from a ship at sea.
Japan's top government spokesman says this is very significant for Japanese national security. He says the government plans to continue bolstering its missile defense systems by installing necessary equipment and conducting tests.
Tokyo has invested heavily in missile defense since North Korea test-fired a long-range missile over northern Japan nearly 10 years ago. It has installed missile tracking technology on several navy ships and has plans to equip three additional vessels with interceptors.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency calls the test "a major milestone" in U.S.-Japanese relations.