Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



NUKEWARS
North Korea's missile launch: Why Japan?
By Shingo ITO
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 30, 2017


When nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan this week, it sparked international condemnation. But it also raised the question: Why Japan?

Location, location, location

It might seem obvious, but geography is frequently a huge factor in geopolitical wrangling.

The Japanese archipelago forms a long string off the coast of mainland north Asia, so by definition, any regional player that wants to fire a medium- or long-range missile into the Pacific has to go over it.

Tuesday's projectile travelled around 2,700 kilometres (1,700 miles) from its launch site near Pyongyang before crashing into the ocean, around 1,200 kilometres off Japan's northern Hokkaido island.

Having threatened a few weeks ago to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam -- around 3,500 kilometres away -- the range could have been selected to remind Washington that Pyongyang has the capacity to follow through.

But unlike cashing that cheque and risking conflict with the world's top military power, firing missiles over pacifist Japan was not likely to provoke an armed response.

So, Tuesday's launch let Pyongyang rattle a major US ally, which hosts American military bases and tens of thousands of US troops, while showing it has the ability to strike Guam if it wants to.

"It is also sending a message that Japan is well within its sights if a war breaks out," Professor Koh Yu-Hwan at Dongguk University told AFP.

Rocky relations

North Korea hinted at another reason Japan was in its sights: history.

The missile, it said Wednesday, was timed to mark the 107th anniversary of the "disgraceful" Japan-Korea treaty of 1910, under which Tokyo colonised the Korean peninsula.

The North's official KCNA news service said leader Kim Jong-Un "gave vent to the long-pent grudge of the Korean people" with "a bold plan to make the cruel Japanese islanders insensible on bloody August 29".

Japan's colonisation of a then-unified Korea ushered in a period of oppressive rule that only ended with Tokyo's defeat in WWII.

The Imperial army forced thousands of Korean women to work as sex slaves in military brothels during the war, a practice that weighs heavily on ties with both Koreas today.

Tokyo-Pyongyang relations have also been strained over the kidnapping of Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 1980s to train North Korean spies.

What can Japan do?

Japan has pretty much exhausted its diplomatic options.

Most of the world condemns North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons development and, like the US, Tokyo has already imposed sanctions against Pyongyang, widening them as recently as last week.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will call for ratcheting up pressure on Pyongyang -- probably more sanctions -- when he attends next month's UN general assembly. Few experts think that will produce any meaningful change.

Domestically, the launch gives Japan a reason to beef up its missile defence system, including adopting a land-based Aegis missile defence scheme to complement its sea-based system, and will likely boost calls for an early warning satellite system.

It could also reignite debate over Japan's own nuclear deterrence, especially if the North conducts another atomic test. But that is a touchy subject given Japan's history as the only nation ever to have been attacked by nuclear weapons.

Why didn't Japan shoot the missile down?

Japan says it didn't blow the missile out of the sky because it was not a threat to its territory and flew above its airspace -- although Tokyo warned millions of Japanese to take cover.

But some experts suspect Japan's missile defence may have a maximum height range of around 500 kilometres (310 miles). If correct, that means it may not have been capable of destroying Tuesday's rocket, which reached an altitude of 550 kilometres.

"As far as our capacity is concerned, discussing it would mean showing our hand," Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday.

"But let me assure you that we're capable of taking the necessary actions," he added.

Another consideration could have been North Korea's response to any such downing.

Although many in the international community would have seen it as a legitimate -- and limited -- act of self-defence, Japan's erractic neighbour might have considered it an act of aggression.

And in the tinderbox of northeast Asia, things could quickly have got out of hand.

bur-si-hih-kap/pb/hg/klm

NUKEWARS
US warns 'all options' open after North Korea launch
Washington (AFP) Aug 29, 2017
US President Donald Trump warned "all options" are again on the table Tuesday after North Korea snubbed Washington's bid to lure it back to talks by test firing a ballistic missile over Japan. Trump revived his implied threat of pre-emptive US military action just days after congratulating himself that North Korea's Kim Jong-Un appeared to be "starting to respect" him by holding off on missi ... read more

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NUKEWARS
'Gifted' high-tech takes spotlight at Berlin's IFA fair

NASA Offers Space Station as Catalyst for Discovery in Washington

Forty years on, Voyager still hurtles through space

ISS Orbit Increases Almost 2,000 Feet After Adjustment Maneuver - Control Center

NUKEWARS
ISRO Develops Ship-Based Antenna System to Track Satellite Launches

Falcon 9 launches from Vandenberg

SpaceX launches Taiwan's first home-built satellite

Indian Space Agency, Israeli counterpart to formalize strategic collaborations

NUKEWARS
For Moratorium on Sending Commands to Mars, Blame the Sun

Tributes to wetter times on Mars

Opportunity will spend three weeks at current location due to Solar Conjunction

Curiosity Mars Rover Begins Study of Ridge Destination

NUKEWARS
Russia, China May Sign 5-Year Agreement on Joint Space Exploration

China, Russia to Have Smooth Space Cooperation, Says Expert

Kuaizhou-11 to send six satellites into space

ESA and Chinese astronauts train together

NUKEWARS
ASTROSCALE Raises a Total of $25 Million in Series C Led by Private Companies

LISA Pathfinder: bake, rattle and roll

Bids for government funding prove strong interest in LaunchUK

Blue Sky Network Reaffirms Commitment to Brazilian Market

NUKEWARS
Clamping down on causality by probing laser cavities

Rare-metals in the Himalayas: The potential world-class treasure

Why does rubbing a balloon on your hair make it stick?

Making 3-D printing safer

NUKEWARS
A New Search for Extrasolar Planets from the Arecibo Observatory

Gulf of Mexico tube worm is one of the longest-living animals in the world

Molecular Outflow Launched Beyond Disk Around Young Star

Scientists take first snapshots of a molecular propeller that runs at 100 degrees Celsius

NUKEWARS
New Horizons Video Soars over Pluto's Majestic Mountains and Icy Plains

Juno spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot

New evidence in support of the Planet Nine hypothesis

Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy planets




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement