It is pathetic to see an emerging power like Japan wake up to the accompaniment of blaring sirens and emergency phone alerts, with loudspeakers screaming “Missile launch! Missile launch! That is what was the scene in Tokyo as North Korea blasted its second missile over the country in less than a month on Wednesday. Breakfast television programmes across Japan, usually broadcasting a light-hearted diet of children’s shows and gadget features, instead flashed up the warning message as the intermediate range ballistic missile flew overhead.
Mobile carriers in Japan sent automatic text messages to rouse customers awake. Train services between Japan’s main island and Hokkaido were temporarily suspended after the launch and bullet train services were also halted. All this because of a mad dictator sitting in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-Un who has gone berserk. The launch came a day after a North Korean organisation warned of a “telling blow” against Japan, accusing it of “dancing to the tune of the US” for supporting fresh UN sanctions. “The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,” the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a statement, referring to the North’s national philosophy of “Juche” or self-reliance.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe back from a two-day visit to India said Tokyo could “never tolerate” a dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace. “If North Korea continues to walk down this path, it has no bright future. We must make North Korea understand this.” But North Korea is undeterred. The launch came after the UN Security Council imposed an eighth set of measures on the isolated country over its ballistic missile and atomic weapons programmes. That followed its sixth nuclear test — by far its largest yet — earlier this month, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.
In an open threat to the US too, North Korea has vowed that it would face ‘pain and suffering’ in retaliation for the UN sanctions. Earlier this year US President Donald Trump had threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury”, heightening fears of conflict. How long can the North Korean dictator go on holding out threats to the world’s two most powerful countries and getting away with them. Sooner than later, the Americans and the Japanese will have to respond in kind to protect their interests. The time to deter North Korea once for all is now. The Americans together with Japan’s deadly laser technology can decimate the nuclear facilities and arsenal of the North Koreans once they decide to do so. They would be living under a perennial threat and possible nuclear missile attacks if they fail to do so.