Japan may accelerate around $1 billion of planned spending to upgrade its ballistic missile defenses in the wake of rocket tests suggesting North Korea is close to fielding a more potent medium-range missile, three government sources told Reuters.
Japan can quickly build a strategic arsenal of land-based and submarine-launched missiles capable of killing up to 30 million Chinese in a nuclear war, according to a Pentagon sponsored study.
Japan plans to increase its engagement in the South China Sea by conducting joint training patrols with the U.S. Navy and other exercises with regional navies, nudging China’s extensive territorial claims in the region.
North Korea fired a submarine-launched missile on Wednesday that flew about 500 km (311 miles) towards Japan, a show of improving technological capability for the isolated country that has conducted a series of launches in defiance of U.N. sanctions.
China reportedly warned that Japan would “cross a red line” by sending Self-Defense Forces to join U.S. operations in the South China Sea.
North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production by reprocessing spent fuel rods and has no plans to stop nuclear tests as long as perceived U.S. threats remain, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday.
Donald Trump was widely criticized after telling the New York Times last month that he would not offer military support to NATO allies attacked by Russia that have not “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Wednesday that landed in or near Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, the latest in a series of launches by the isolated country in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Taxpayers were billed more than $300,000 for costs associated with President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, Japan, to deliver a speech calling for a “world without nuclear weapons” at the site of the atomic bomb attack that ended the Second World War.