"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."
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.