Japan rushed to the defense of its U.S. ally early morning Thursday, claiming it has the ability to shoot down North Korean missiles targeting Guam.
In a parliamentary session, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera explained that any attack on U.S. soil would send Japan into action, citing the U.S.-Japan nuclear deterrence policy enacted last year. As a result, Onodera added, that an attack on the U.S. would propel Japan into nation emergency because it would threaten Japan's existence of the nation. In that case, Japan could exercise the right to "collective" self-defense and activate the Aegis destroyer ship-to-air missile defense system.
The defense minister comments underscores Japans developing military role. Previously, Japan reported that it could only shoot down missiles headed its way.
News of Japan's commitment to the U.S. follows a statement attributed to North Korean General Kim Rak Gyom describing the details of the country's intentions to launch four missiles into the Guam's waters.
“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimani, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures of Japan,” the statement said. “They will fly for 3,356.7 km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40km away from Guam.”
In the same statement, Kim also shot insults at President Trump in response to his "fire and fury" threats earlier this week. Kim said he was "extremely getting on the nerves" of his soldiers.
“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason who is going senile," Kim added.
For more North Korea coverage, check out How to survive the radioactive fallout from a nuclear bomb.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.