Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Thursday that if North Korea fires missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam where the United States has military bases, the action could constitute a “survival-threatening situation” enabling Japan to exercise its right of collective self-defense.
Onodera said Thursday during off-session Diet deliberations at the House of Representatives’ Committee on Security, “At present, we’re not in a situation to hold discussions about specific scenarios. I want the whole government, as it comprehensively considers the situation, to share a common view as to what kind of situation we would decide we were in [after action by North Korea],” he said.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, the missiles could fly over Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi prefectures.
Regarding the Japanese government’s possible response to the missile launch, Onodera said: “Primarily, efforts are being made to protect the whole nation with the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Aegis-equipped destroyers. We intend to establish a system that will allow people across the nation to feel safe.”
Japan’s missile defense system has two stages of preparedness wherein the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air guided missiles intercept incoming missiles if the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) mounted on Aegis destroyers fail to shoot them down.
Referring to the issue, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Thursday morning, “As this is clearly a provocation against regional security and the international community, we can’t tolerate it at all.”
(c) 2017, The Japan News/Yomiuri