Japanese Gov't Warns North Korea May Take More Provocative Steps, Including Nuclear Test

TOKYO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th September, 2022) North Korea may step up provocations and even conduct a nuclear test in the future, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday in the wake of Pyongyang's test launch.

On Sunday, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan for the first time since June 5. The missile landed outside the exclusive economic zone of Japan. The Japanese government issued a protest to North Korea through its embassy in Beijing.

"There is a possibility that North Korea will take further provocative actions, including conducting nuclear tests," Matsuno said.

Japan is working in close coordination with the United States to collect the necessary information and monitor the situation, the senior official noted.

Earlier on Monday, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said that the projectile that North Korea launched on Sunday covered over 650 kilometers (403 miles) in an atypical trajectory, while in a normal trajectory the missile covers about 400 kilometers.

North Korea intensified launches of ballistic missiles and other projectiles in 2022. Since the beginning of the year, Pyongyang launched 19 missiles, compared to the eight missiles last year.

According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), North Korea spent $1,221 per minute on its nuclear program in 2021, or a total of $642 million. ICAN estimates that North Korea has 20 ready nuclear warheads. Pyongyang is developing nuclear-capable missiles that can be launched from the ground and from submarines.