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Attack ‘could be threat to the survival of Japan’

The Yomiuri ShimbunDefense 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.

“Given that Japan’s deterrence is enhanced by both [Japan’s defense capability and the U.S. striking ability], we can’t say that there is no possibility that the absence of the U.S. side’s offensive power would constitute a situation threatening Japan’s survival,” Onodera said Thursday morning 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.”Speech

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