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Japan could intercept N. Korean missiles if threatened by attack on Guam: minister

In this April 15, 2017, file photo, a missile that analysts believe could be the North Korean Hwasong-12 is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. The country's official Korean Central News Agency said the missile fired on May 14, 2017, was a Hwasong-12 "capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead." North Korea said on Aug. 10 that it was examining operational plans for attacking Guam. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Aug. 10 expressed the view that Japan could intercept a missile from North Korea heading for Guam as an act of collective self-defense if such an attack posed a crisis threatening Japan's existence.

"It cannot be ruled out that a deficiency in U.S. deterrence and striking power could constitute a crisis threatening Japan's existence," Onodera said during a meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on Security.

Onodera's statement came in response to a question from Yuichi Goto of the opposition Democratic Party.

In a news conference the same day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga criticized North Korea over its statement that it was considering striking Guam. "This is clearly a provocative act, and cannot be permitted. We strongly request that it refrain from further provocative actions," Suga said.

Suga indicated that Japan and the U.S. would discuss a response in their "two plus two" meeting of foreign and defense chiefs slated to go ahead on Aug. 17.

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