The Japanese government published on Tuesday “Defence of Japan” for 2020, an annual defence white paper that claims sovereignty over Dokdo. It has contested South Korea’s sovereignty over the island for 16 years since 2005. This year’s white paper acknowledged for the first time that North Korea has the capability to attack Japan with its nuclear missiles.
The white paper stated that the territorial disputes over the Northern Territories and Takeshima Island remain unresolved. “If any suspicious aircraft heading to Japan’s territorial airspace are detected, fighters and other aircraft scramble to approach them,” it wrote, suggesting a possibility of fighters of the Japan Self-Defense Forces being deployed, which was also mentioned in last year’s white paper.
In regards to North Korea, the white paper said the regime “is assessed to have already miniaturized nuclear weapons to fit ballistic missile warheads,” highlighting the fact that it poses a real threat to Japan. Last year, it said Pyongyang was on the verge of achieving the capability. It said North Korea seems to have developed technologies that enable warheads to re-enter the atmosphere. The emphasis on the military threats posed by the North can be seen as efforts to lay the groundwork for discussions on its possession of capabilities to “attack enemy bases.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called in Hirohisa Soma, a senior official the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, while the Ministry of Defense summoned Takashi Matsumoto, a Japanese military attaché stationed in Seoul, and lodged a complaint over the territorial claims. “It is regrettable that Japan repeated its unjust territorial claims,” wrote Kim In-cheol, a spokesperson of the South Korean Foreign Ministry. “We urge Japan to withdraw the claims.”
Ji-Sun Choi email@example.com