North Korea has again come out with its usual rhetoric, threatening Japan with “fiery lightning” if it maintains its pursuit to lift its self-imposed collective self-defense ban, as prescribed in its pacifist post-WWII constitution. The threat was published in the North’s main newspaper – the Rodong Sinmun – in an article that claimed Japan’s move to exercise the right of collective self-defense is tantamount to reviving its past militarism and expansion, flexing its military muscle and invading countries again.
“Japan should keep in mind that it could be the first hit by a fiery lightning in case of conflict,” the newspaper article said, seeming to refer to a military strike on the country. As per usual, there was no clarification from Pyongyang if it indeed intended to strike Japan in case of a conflict. More generally, the article also warned that the Asia-Pacific region could be plunged into a state of war if Japan continues on its path to exercising the right to collective self-defense.
Japan’s self-imposed ban to exercising the right to collective self-defense has been a topic of discussion between the U.S. and Japan, especially in the recent visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Tokyo. In April, the White House published a joint statement with Japan voicing its support for Japan in this matter. “The United States welcomes and supports Japan’s consideration of the matter of exercising the right of collective self-defense,” the U.S. government said in the statement. Japan’s regional neighbors have voiced out their negative feelings about the move. South Korea argues that it is desirable for Japan to keep an exclusively defensive posture. China has always been vocal about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s tendency towards nationalism, saying that it could lead to a revival in Japan of its past aggressive posture.