Last Update 20:57
Friday, 22 June 2018

Japan defence review warns of enhanced North Korea threats

Reuters , Tuesday 8 Aug 2017
 ballistic missile
Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 is pictured during its second test-fire in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang (photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1386
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1386

Japan warned on Tuesday against the acute threat posed by North Korea's weapons programmes as Pyongyang's continued series of missile and nuclear tests, in defiance of U.N. sanctions, brings technological progress to the reclusive state.

Japan released its annual Defence White Paper after North Korea fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) last month on lofted trajectories to land off Japan's west coast.

"It is conceivable that North Korea's nuclear weapons programme has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturisation of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads," the Defence Ministry said.

"Since last year, when it forcibly implemented two nuclear tests and more than 20 ballistic missile launches, the security threats have entered a new stage," it added in the 563-page document.

North Korea's latest ICBM test showed Pyongyang may now be able to reach most of the continental United States, two U.S. officials have told Reuters.

The growing threat has prompted Japanese municipalities to hold evacuation drills in case of a possible missile attack, and boosted demand for nuclear shelters.

Missiles launched on a lofted trajectory were difficult to intercept, the defence ministry said.

With North Korea pressing ahead with missile tests, a group of ruling party lawmakers led by Itsunori Onodera, who became defence minister on Thursday, urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in March to consider acquiring the capability to hit enemy bases.

If realised, that would be a drastic change in Japan's defence posture. Tokyo has so far avoided taking the controversial and costly step of acquiring bombers or cruise missiles with the range to strike other countries.

"North Korea's missiles represent a deepening threat. That, along with China's continued threatening behaviour in the East China Sea and South China Sea, is a major concern for Japan," Onodera told a news briefing in Tokyo.

The ministry said the number of Japan's jet scrambles against Chinese aircraft hit a record in the year to March 2017. The first confirmed advancement of China's aircraft carrier to the Pacific also came in December 2016.

"There is a possibility that their naval activities, as well as air force activities, will pick up pace in the Sea of Japan from now on," the ministry said.

"We need to keep a close eye on the Chinese naval force's activity," it added.

Tokyo's ties with Beijing have long been plagued by a territorial dispute over a group of tiny, uninhabited East China Sea islets and the legacy of Japan's wartime aggression.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed the white paper, telling state television in Manila, which he visited for a regional security meeting, that Japan was "playing the same old tune". 

 

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.