N. Korean menace rises but silver bullet eludes Japan

Debate is intensifying on the acquisition of missiles capable of striking targets in North Korea.

A Japanese solider watching an exercise conducted by US Marines and Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force soldiers in California on Feb 9, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
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North Korea's increasingly sophisticated missile arsenal poses a genuine threat to Japan. Yet, the acquisition of an independent strike capability by the Japanese is not the solution.

The Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was launched by North Korea on Jan 30, rose to an altitude of 2,000km before plunging into the sea just outside Japan's exclusive economic zone. The missile, which has sufficient range to strike all of Japan as well as the US territory of Guam, was the longest-range weapon Pyongyang has tested since 2017.

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