FOCUS: Japan Braced for Day to Use Missile Defense System

Society Politics

Tokyo, March 26 (Jiji Press)--Japan is braced for the day when it will have to fire missiles to intercept a North Korean missile after Thursday's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by the reclusive country.

The ICBM, deemed capable of reaching anywhere on the U.S. mainland, fell into waters inside the Japanese exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan at a point about 150 kilometers west of the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

If North Korea's provocations escalate further and the threat to Japan's territory increases, the Self-Defense Forces might have to actually use the country's missile defense system.

Under Japan's national security laws, it is legally possible for the country to intercept a missile flying toward the U.S. mainland by exercising the right to collective self-defense.

"The line of what the United States does not accept has been crossed. The situation has changed," a senior Defense Ministry official said regarding Thursday's launch of the ICBM, which reached an altitude of far more than 6,000 kilometers after being fired on a high-angle lofted trajectory.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press