North Korea CRISIS: Japan arms jets with long-range missiles to counter Pyongyang threat

Friday, December 8, 2017
By Paul Martin

JAPAN is to arm its fighter jets with the latest air-to-surface missiles in response to the growing threat of North Korea, despite a 70-year-old constitutional clause which prevents Tokyo from waging war.

Fri, Dec 8, 2017

Military chiefs are so concerned about the possibility of a conflict with Kim Jong-un’s regime they intend to request an emergency budget for cash to be set aside for the weapons.

Defence secretary Itsunori Onodera revealed today the money would be spent on equipping the Japanese air force with high-tech missiles from the United States.

The weapons have a range of 560 miles, which would allow pilots to target the whole of North Korea while flying safely over the Sea of Japan.

The Japanese constitution has a controversial clause, imposed by the US after World War Two, which states the country can only use its forces for self defence, and even its small military exists in a legal grey area.

But despite the missile purchase, Mr Onodera insisted Japan will continue to uphold its defence-only policy.

He told reporters: “We will introduce them as standoff missiles that allow us to deal with our opponents from outside the range of threats.”

News of the upgrade comes against a backdrop of a shift in the Japanese stance towards North Korea following the re-election of Shinzo Abe as Prime Minister.

Mr Abe had seen his popularity slump after a series of corruption scandals, but his tough talk on the rogue state chimed well with voters ahead of the snap ballot in October.

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