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'Japan can retaliate against North Korea'

“Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said Sunday that Japan could retaliate against a North Korean base if Pyongyang launched a missile attack on the United States.

According to the Mainichi Shimbun, Monday, Nakatani made the remarks during an appearance in a program on Fuji Television.

The minister added that Tokyo's attack would be based on the premise that the U.S. was being attacked by the North and serious damage was expected.

Defense observers in South Korea said the comments about a possible attack on the North were very rare and are expected to provoke a strong response from the repressive state.

Nakatani's remarks came after Washington and Tokyo revised their defense guidelines on April 28.

The revision of the 1997 U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Pact removed geographic limits on the role of Japan's Self-Defense Forces, and expanded their role globally to help U.S. forces in military emergencies.

Collective self-defense is the right to engage in military activities overseas if one's allies are under attack. The revision has increased concerns that Tokyo may return to militarism.”

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