Japan says 'can never tolerate' North Korea provocations

As tensions soar South Korea mulls nuclear arms

The North Korean army announced it was examining plans for attacking the island, which serves as a launching pad for the USA military.

Japan said it had conducted joint air drills with USA supersonic bombers in Japanese skies close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday as tension in the region escalates amid North Korea's continued ballistic missile tests.

Ellsworth B-1s were last deployed to Guam in August 2016, when they took over continuous-bomber-presence operations from the B-52 Stratofortress bomber squadrons from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, and Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Rhetoric in the conflict heated up this week after US President Donald Trump warned North Korea it would face "fire and fury" if it did not stop making threats against Washington.

"North Korea's provocative actions, including this time, are obviously provocative to the region including Japan as well as to the security of the global community", Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief government spokesman, told reporters. However it has for the most part refrained from commenting on the possibility of a US pre-emptive strike against North Korea, even though such action would likely provoke a deadly counter attack against the South.

The Kyodo news Agency also reported Thursday that the country's defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, said Japan could legally intercept a North Korean missile headed towards Guam.

Lost in the media's frantic coverage about the peaking North Korea crisis, a small, but very important detail escaped much of the US's notice that could be a window to peace between two feuding nuclear powers. But experts say the Japanese military does not now have the capability to shoot down a missile in high altitude.



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