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Amid the nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Monday that Japan is facing its toughest security environment since World War II, and pledged to resolutely protect its territory.

“It’s important to work together with other nations to maintain pressure and sanctions, to achieve North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization and its abandonment of weapons of mass destruction and every ballistic missile,” Onodera said during an inspection of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

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