Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned that North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas towards Japan.
On Friday, US media said that US President Donald Trump might order a strike against North Korea in case Pyongyang made a decision to carry out another nuclear weapon test.
The warning comes amid heightening tensions between the USA and North Korea.
Tong Zhao, an analyst with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, told CNN that "it appears technically possible to put chemical weapon agents including nerve agents such as VX or sarin in the warhead of a ballistic missile". It has a particular resonance with the public in Japan because it was used in a terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway by the doomsday cult group Aum Shinrikyo in 1995. Outwardly, there are few signs of concern in North Korea despite the political back and forth. He did not say where he obtained the information, said the reports.
Japan is carrying out the necessary preparations to defend Japanese citizens on the Korean peninsula, the prime minister added.
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Satellite images show continued activity around the North Portal.
Abe cited Syria, where dozens of people died recently in an alleged sarin nerve gas attack, as an example that Japan should take seriously, stressing the need to strengthen its deterrence against the North. President Donald Trump has tweeted about his discussions with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping about curbing the isolated state's aggression.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have spiked in recent days amid concerns that Pyongyang could be on the verge of executing its sixth nuclear test and as a U.S. aircraft carrier-led strike group heads to the region.
"If not, we will solve the problem without them!"