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Aug. 21–According to the draft version of the Japanese government’s 2019 white paper on defense, North Korea is believed to have already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and the development of nuclear warheads, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
This is the first time such statements have been included in the report.
Regarding South Korea, which is intensifying its political confrontation with Japan, the report lowered that nation’s ranking from the previous year among the countries and regions that are promoting security cooperation with Japan.
The Japanese government is making arrangements to approve the 2019 white paper at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September. On North Korea’s military moves, the paper again said they posed a “serious and imminent threat.”
The 2018 version of the report said there was a “possibility of [North Korea] having achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and developed nuclear warheads.” However, taking into account the fact that North Korea’s progress in nuclear technology is expected, the 2019 paper went into greater depth, expressing a sense of crisis over the possibility that downsized nuclear weapons can be mounted on ballistic missiles.
On Japan-South Korea relations, the report referred to the South Korean government’s negative stance over the issue related to a flag of the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ ship, and the incident in which a South Korean Navy ship directed its fire-control radar at a SDF aircraft, saying Japan was “strongly calling for the prevention of a recurrence.”
As to security cooperation with countries and regions other than the United States, the 2019 edition ranked Japan’s cooperation with South Korea as fourth after Australia, India, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, downgrading South Korea from its No. 2 position in the previous year.
The report also said that China’s maritime and air force activities in the Pacific are expected to expand further. “It is strongly hoped [China] will play an active role in a more cooperative manner,” the report said, urging the country to show restraint. ___
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