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Japan Deploys Largest Warship Amid Concerns Over North Korea’s Missiles

 

When Japan surrendered to America in 1945 after two nuclear bombs decimated the island nation, its constitution forbade the military from carrying out any action that wasn’t in self-defence.

But last year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expanded those rules to include being able to protect Japanese allies and providing logistical support.

Now, the new regulation has been used for the first time after Japan deployed the country’s largest vessel constructed since World War Two.

The 800-foot helicopter carrier has left its port, south of Tokyo, to protect an American ship resupplying a US fleet led by the massive USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier reports the BBC.

According to the Daily Mail, the Japanese carrier has been authorised to use ‘minimal firepower’ to protect the supply ship.

The increase in military presence in the region is a result of North Korea’s continued ballistic missile tests. Last month, two tests were carried out although both failed.

The latest test, on Saturday 29 April, was reported to have exploded over North Korean territory just seconds after take-off. Japan was particularly vocal in its condemnation of Saturday’s test. Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said it was ‘a clear violation of UN security council resolutions.’

He added Japan ‘cannot accept repeated provocation by North Korea.’

Despite the repeated failed missile tests; each operation teaches the North Korean military what to do next to make a successful launch. Some don’t believe the hermit nation would use nuclear weapons even if it had the capacity to. But one US military official fears North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shouldn’t be underestimated.

A man watches a TV news program reporting about North Korea’s missile firing with a file footage, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 29, 2017. A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the second such test-fire flop in recent weeks but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters. The letters on top left, reading “North Korea fired a ballistic missile.” (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Credit: PA

Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, told Congress: “I don’t share your confidence that North Korea is not going to attack either South Korea, or Japan, or the United States… once they have the capability.”

The North Korean government has intensified its rhetoric about its next nuclear missile test saying it can happen at any time and any location.

A spokesman from country’s foreign ministry has told the state-run KCNA news agency: “”The DPRK’s measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership.”

Pyongyang has carried out five nuclear tests in 11 years and is believed to be close to building a missile capable of reaching American shores.

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