If North Korea launches a nuclear attack on Guam, Japan will protect the U.S. territory by shooting down such missiles.
According to Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera during a session of Japan’s parliament on Thursday, the Japan military would activate its Aegis destroyer missile defense system to defend Guam because it would consider any attack against the island an existential threat to Japan. In addition to that, there is a mutual defense agreement with the United States.
Japan lies approximately 620 miles to the east of North Korea, which has conducted numerous missiles tests this year. Most of the weapons have landed in the Sea of Japan, which is located between Japan and the eastern coast of the massive Asian continent. Guam lies about 1,600 miles south of Japan.
North Korea has threatened Guam for years. The U.S. territory — only around 30 miles long and 4 miles across at its narrowest point — is located about 2,100 miles away from the Korean Peninsula and about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. The isolated island is home to thousands of U.S. troops stationed at Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam, which is heavily fortified.
In March, Onodera led a study that resulted in recommendations for boosting Japan’s missile response capability, The Australian reported. His department also recently issued a 532-page report on proposed defense initiatives.
According to The Australian, Japan is looking to add upgraded ship-to-air interceptors to double its current defense capabilities.
In preparation for a missile attack, Japanese cities have started to stage evacuation drills, and it’s been reported that private sales of nuclear shelters have been booming.
In the past, Japan has said it would shoot down North Korean missiles only if they were directed toward Japan. But last year, Japan enacted a new defense policy which now allows its military to defend U.S. territories and other allies against attack.
North Korea said on Wednesday it was “carefully examining” a plan to shoot missiles toward Guam.
President Trump’s response was to meet any threats from the North Korean government with “fire and fury.”
Pyongyang responded by accusing Trump of “going senile.”
General Kim Rak Gyom, North Korea’s commander of strategic rocket forces, spoke to state media Thursday and launched a number of insults at the U.S. president.
He said Trump is “extremely getting on the nerves” of American soldiers and has showed his “senility” again. “Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason who is going senile,” the commander said.
In late July, North Korea fired a projectile that appeared to be a missile shortly before midnight Japan Standard Time (JST). It reportedly landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said.
Earlier in May, Abe pledged to take action against Pyongyang during a brief television address: “As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community. Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”
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