All Friday morning papers highlighted remarks made at the parliament on Thursday by Defense Minister Onodera, who hinted at the possibility that Japan might exercise collective self-defense to assist the U.S. military in the event of a North Korean missile attack on Guam. While commenting on the DPRK’s warning of a missile strike on the U.S. territory, the defense chief said Japan’s existence could be endangered if U.S. deterrence and strike capabilities were damaged as a result of a DPRK attack on the Pacific island. As Japan would be allowed to assist the U.S. militarily in such a contingency under the comprehensive security laws, Onodera suggested that the SDF might choose to intercept North Korean projectiles headed toward Guam. The minister’s remarks were intended to hold Pyongyang in check by underscoring the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance.
However, Yomiuri pointed out technical difficulties with Japan intercepting DPRK missiles. The paper also said Japan would not be legally permitted to assist the U.S. military if North Korea were to launch missiles while claiming that they were targeted at locations outside of U.S. territorial waters.