Japan says it could shoot down NKorean missile

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North Korea Koreas Tensions_268808

This photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea’s northwest, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this photo. North Korea claimed to have tested its first intercontinental ballistic […]

WASHINGTON (AP) — Japan says it could shoot down missiles for its U.S. ally if North Korea fires them at Guam.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told Thursday’s parliamentary session that a missile attack on the U.S. territory would breach the U.S. deterrence against an attack on Japan. He said that would be a Japanese national emergency because it would threaten Japan’s existence as a nation.

He said Japan in that case can exercise the right to “collective” self-defense and activate the Aegis destroyer ship-to-air missile defense system.

Onodera’s comment underscores Japan’s growing military role and reverses its previous position that it can only shoot down missiles headed to Japan.

A defense law that took effect last year allows Japan’s military to defend U.S. and other allies when they come under enemy attack.

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