February 21, 2024

Why North Korea is aiming its missiles at Japan

Pyongyang is trying to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its allies

North Korea made news again when, on March 6, it launched four extended range Scud missiles from its Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the northwest corner of the country toward the East Sea/Sea of Japan. The missiles flew over 600 miles before splashing down dangerously close to Japan, at least one of which was within the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone.

Much has been made of Pyongyang’s statement about its intent to target Japan. As graphically pointed out by an article in the Japan Times, those missiles could just as easily been aimed southeast to hit U.S. Fleet Activities at Sasebo or the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Iwakuni, both in western Japan. Obviously, all of South Korea is within that sweep.