Pyongyang appears to be developing warheads to penetrate a ballistic missile shield defending Japan, the country's defence chief said on Tuesday, pointing to the irregular trajectories of the latest missiles launched by North Korea.
Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told a news conference that Japan believes the rockets were a new short-range ballistic missile, according to a ministry spokesman who confirmed his comments carried by domestic media.
Recent short-range missile tests by Pyongyang have stoked alarm in neighbouring Japan even as US President Donald Trump has dismissed the launches as unimportant.
Saturday's test firings came a day after Seoul said it was ending a military intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo, amid a worsening spat over wartime forced labour.
Iwaya and other Japanese officials called Seoul's decision ‘irrational’ as the threat posed by North Korea grows.
Japan and the United States have Aegis destroyers deployed in the Sea of Japan armed with interceptor missiles designed to destroy warheads in space. Japan also plans to build two land-based Aegis batteries to bolster its ballistic missile shield.
Those defence systems, however, are designed to counter projectiles on regular and therefore, predictable, trajectories, and any variation in flight path would make interception trickier.
Detailed analysis of the latest North Korean launches was underway with the United States, an official of South Korea's defence ministry said on Tuesday.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Abe drafts rising star MP, allies for new cabinet
Japan's Abe shakes up cabinet, brings in rising star
Japan will have to dump radioactive Fukushima water into Pacific, minister says
Powerful typhoon Faxai batters Tokyo, two dead
Woman killed as strong typhoon lashes Tokyo area, cutting power and transport
Tokyo braces for direct hit from typhoon Faxai
One dead, 30 hurt as express train, truck collide near Tokyo
Two dead as Japan orders 670,000 to flee heavy rains
Flights, trains cancelled as Japan braces for Typhoon Krosa