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A PAC-3 Patriot missile unit is deployed in the compound of Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. North Korea on Thursday announced a detailed plan to launch a volley of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers, and dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump's threats of "fire and fury" if it doesn't back down. The announcement, made in the name of a general who heads North Korea's rocket command, warned the North is preparing a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny island, which hosts 7,000 U.S. military personnel on two main bases and has a population of 160,000. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Japan claimed it could shoot down a North Korean missile



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.”
General Kim Rak Gyom

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.

North Korea unveils plans to strike missiles into Guam's waters

“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.

Tips to surviving a nuclear bomb

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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