The recent missile test by North Korea reminded me of the article in the Jan. 31 issue, “All eyes on North Korea missile test,” with its reassuring statement that, in preparation for a possible missile launch by North Korea, the Self-Defense Forces have prepared a “two-layer missile shield” — the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) to be fired from Aegis ships, and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air missile to be used “if the SM-3 missiles fail to destroy their targets.”

I had to ask myself, what happens if both the SM-3 and PAC-3 missiles fail to shoot them down? Should we prepare helmets in case debris starts raining down on our heads from space? Or just run for shelter?

Luckily, on this occasion at least, it appears that this didn’t occur. But we can be quite sure that this will not be the last test that North Korea will carry out, and we cannot be sure that future tests will end without disastrous damage to Japan or its population, or other countries in the region.

What concerns me most, knowing the perverse and bizarre “logic” that seems to prevail in the rogue state is that Japan’s natural and legal actions to try to defend the country from missiles falling out of the sky onto Japanese territory by shooting them down might well be interpreted by the North Koreans as a provocation and hostile act of war. If that were to happen, let’s hope indeed that they have not actually managed to develop a hydrogen bomb — yet!

John Ryder

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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