By Yejin Shin
North Korea fired a ballistic missile that flew over the northern island of Hokkaido on Friday, 15 September 2017. The missile flew further than any other North Korean intermediate-range missile. It is considered a threat to Japan since it landed in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,370 miles east of Hokkaido. Moreover, repeated missile and nuclear tests are threatening Japan because the missiles that are fired northwards, in the direction of the United States and Guam, goes over the Japanese territory.
The missile launched on the 17th was the second to fly over Japan in just over two weeks, and officials in Japan are debating on how to respond to North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear program. Although Japan already has a number of ways to deal with North Korea’s missiles, Tokyo continues to focus on improving its missile defense system. Japan has called for intensifying pressure on North Korea by including the full implementation of the new UN sanctions. The resolution is designed to accomplish six major goals:
- Cap North Korea’s oil imports
- Ban textile exports
- End additional overseas laborer contacts
- Suppress smuggling efforts
- Stop joint ventures with other nations
- Sanction designated North Korean government entities
According to CNN, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that, “the government is trying to make an argument for the push towards remilitarization and the nuclear option.” Heigo Sato, the vice president of the Institute of World Studies at Takushoku University said that it was first time Abe has tried to change the constitution to legalize Japan’s current armed forces.
2017 has been a rapid year for North Korea’s missile program and many countries such as South Korea, Japan, and United States are concerned about the ways to deal with North Korea’s provocation and advance in nuclear program.
President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, agreed to increase pressure on North Korea by intensifying economic and diplomatic pressure. North Korea’s missile launch renewed discussion among the Trump administration about how military force could be used to stop the goal of Pyongyang’s effort, which is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the United States.