YONYAP (South Korea), JAPAN TIMES, THE DIPLOMAT (Japan)
TOKYO – North Korea warned Japan on Friday that Tokyo would be its first target of a nuclear strike if it continued to maintain its hostile stance, reports Yonyap news agency.
North Korea criticized Tokyo’s standing orders to destroy any missile heading toward Japan, threatening that such actions would result in a nuclear attack against the nation, reports Yonyap.
This week Japan deployed Patriot PAC-3 antimissile defense units to three locations in and around Tokyo to defend against North Korean missile strikes, reports the Japan Times. One of the patriot batteries is located at the Defense Ministry, in the center of Tokyo, while the other two are located at military bases in the suburbs. The population of Tokyo’s greater population area is estimated at over 35 million people.
Earlier, Japan had deployed two Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan to monitor the launch of North Korean ballistic missiles, which Kim Jung-un threatened to use against the U.S. and South Korea. Aegis destroyers are equipped with SM-3 Interceptor missiles that are designed to intercept missiles after they have just been launched, while Patriot PAC-3 systems are designed to shoot down missiles that have evaded the SM-3 Interceptors, explains the Japan Times.
A North Korean Rodong missile aimed at the center of Tokyo would have a 50-50 chance of landing inside the Yamanote railway line that circles the city, according to the Diplomat.
Japan’s constitution forbids offensive military operations – that is why its army is called the “Self-Defense Forces” – but shooting down a North Korean missile would be considered a defensive measure. Prime Minister Abe said this week that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces were “taking every measure” to defend Japan.