There are worries in Tokyo that a North Korean military attack could be directed at US military bases located in Japan rather than mainland America.
There are eight such facilities in the Japanese capital and a US marine base on the southern island of Okinawa that could be targeted by Pyongyang.
“They have to keep escalating the situation. But in doing so, that might cause some kind of reactions, particularly from South Korea, and that might lead to some kind of, maybe in the beginning, minor clashes, military clashes. Then it might escalate into a bigger conflict,” said Narushige Michishita, an expert on North Korea at Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
Mindful of a missile launch or another nuclear test in North Korea, Japan has deployed PAC-3 missile interceptors in key locations around Tokyo which will only be used if there is a clear threat.