March 9, 2017
TOKYO- One of the four ballistic missiles fired into the Sea of Japan by North Korea on Monday may have come closer to Japan’s mainland than any other missiles launched by the reclusive state ever, it was learned Thursday.
At a press conference on Thursday, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the four missiles are seen to be the Scud-ER medium-range missiles and that one of them is believed to have landed at a point in Japan’s exclusive economic zone some 200 kilometers north of the Noto Peninsula in the central Japan prefecture of Ishikawa.
Chances cannot be ruled out the missile came nearer to the mainland than three North Korean missiles that fell into EEZ waters about 200-250 kilometers west of Okushiri Island in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido in September last year.
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada told a parliamentary committee meeting Thursday that her ministry is currently trying to find out exact missile drop points. The ministry thinks the points evenly apart from each other with a distance of some 80 kilometers, according to a government source.
“With (North Korea’s missile) technologies more reliable than before, western Japan is now within the missile range and the threat is becoming reality,” Suga said.
The top government spokesman also said North Korea may have succeeded in making nuclear weapons small enough to be mounted on missiles.
“It’s now clear that North Korea is posing a new level of threat,” Suga said.
The Defense Ministry has announced that the four missiles were simultaneously fired and fell in waters about 300-350 kilometers west of the Oga Peninsula in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Akita, with one of them landing in the Japanese EEZ.
Meanwhile, Japan’s House of Representatives, in a plenary session Thursday, unanimously adopted a resolution strongly condemning North Korea’s firing of four ballistic missiles on Monday.
The resolution by the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament, said repeated missile launches and nuclear tests by North Korea can never be tolerated as they are explicit acts of provocation to challenge the security of the region, including Japan, and the international community.
The government should strengthen cooperation with other countries and step up pressure on North Korea through measures set by the U.N. Security Council and by fully implementing Japan’s unilateral actions, the resolution also said.
“Japan will strongly demand North Korea take specific action to resolve the problem of nuclear and missile development as well as the most crucial issue of abduction” of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after the resolution was adopted.
The House of Councillors, the upper chamber, adopted a similar resolution on Wednesday.
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