Japan failed to detect North Korea missiles, report says

A photo released by North Korea's KCNA shows a live fire test of a newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher that was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an unknown location in North Korea on Aug. 24. Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

Sept. 23 (UPI) — Japan failed to detect recent North Korean missiles, according to a Japanese press report.

Tokyo also remains concerned about a South Korean plan to not renew a military intelligence sharing agreement.

A Japanese government source told Kyodo News Japan’s self-defense force was unable to detect North Korean missiles twice since May.

The missiles that went undetected flew at an altitude of less than 37 miles, making it difficult for Japan’s military to detect and monitor, according to the report.

Meanwhile, South Korea has said it managed to track all North Korea missiles launched this year, including low-altitude projectiles, according to Korean television network KBS on Monday.

GSOMIA remains in effect until November, and Japan benefits from the deal. Intelligence South Korea shared with Japan likely included screening and video information collected by reconnaissance aircraft and information obtained by intercepting wireless communication originating from North Korean military facilities.

If Japan and South Korea do not come to an agreement regarding GSOMIA renewal by November, Tokyo fears it may be facing a security vulnerability, according to reports.

South Korea had said in August Japan’s decision to remove Korea from its “white list” of preferred trading partners and initiate trade restrictions were reasons for the decision to suspend cooperation on security. South Korea had also said it would keep GSOMIA if Japan cancels trade restrictions.

Following the South Korean decision on GSOMIA, on Aug. 24, Japan reported North Korea missile tests 10 minutes ahead of Seoul but was unable to release key statistics on missile altitude and direction.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.

Jiji Press reported Abe plans to discuss North Korea with Trump and growing tensions in the Middle East with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Abe has been playing a mediating role between Washington and Tehran, according to the report.


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