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Japan Intends to Enhance Defense Potential Amid North Korean Threat - Abe

© REUTERS / KYODOJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on July 29, 2017
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on July 29, 2017 - Sputnik International
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TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japan intends to enhance its defense potential amid ongoing provocative actions by Pyongyang as well as to promote a diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said.

"The security situation in the region is the most serious in the postwar period. We intend to strengthen the necessary defense potential in order to ensure the security of the population amid the development of North Korea's missile and nuclear programs," Abe said at a press conference as quoted by the Kyodo news agency.

At the same time, Abe noted that Tokyo "intends to promote a policy aimed at making North Korea change its course."

READ MORE: Japan Reportedly Mulls Over Four Possible Scenarios of War on Korean Peninsula

On December 19, the Japanese government approved the deployment of two US land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense systems on its territory in order to enhance the country’s defense capability amid North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula drastically escalated in 2017 due to the North's nuclear activity, which led to the UN Security Council imposing its toughest ever sanctions on the country. In November, North Korea tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, which according to Pyongyang, would have been capable of hitting any part of the US mainland.

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