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Notice sought even if U.S. bases not used

The Yomiuri Shimbun Japan wants to receive prior consultation from the United States on any military action Washington may take against North Korea even if U.S. bases in Japan are not used, and the U.S. government has indicated it will accept that request, according to a source in the Japanese government.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said “all options are on the table,” including military action, to address North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and other provocations. The United States is ramping up pressure on the nation, taking such actions as deploying the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, which had previously been in Singapore, to waters near the Korean Peninsula.

The Japanese and U.S. governments have agreed in an official document related to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty that prior consultation should be made when U.S. bases in Japan are used to carry out combat operation activities.

However, if warplanes on board the Carl Vinson or missile-carrying destroyers accompanying an aircraft carrier attack North Korea, prior consultation would not be required, since U.S. bases in Japan would not be used.

A high-ranking Defense Ministry official said, “If the United States launches a military attack on North Korea without using U.S. bases in Japan, it is highly likely that Japan would become a target of retaliation.” The Japanese government has therefore asked for prior consultation outside of that stipulated by the treaty.

Discussions prior to an attack would be expected to take place between the two leaders of the countries. But before that, it is likely that both governments would continue to coordinate on the ministerial and deputy ministerial levels, as well as through such organizations as the Alliance Coordination Mechanism that exists between the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. forces and is based on the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation.

In the case of a contingency on the Korean Peninsula, the protection of Japanese residents will become an issue. “Considering instances where Japanese residents will need to be protected and evacuated, we have taken all possible measures,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Wednesday.Speech

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