Japan and the United States share a sense of common responsibility against the repeated North Korean nuclear and missile provocations. In 2016, Pyongyang conducted two nuclear tests and 20 ballistic missile launchings. Japan has been considering to upgrade its defence system. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) and Aegis Ashore are the two latest options to deter the North Korean threat to Japan.

History of North Korean missile violations against Japan is littered with the former’s resolve for peace and normalisation in the broader Asia-Pacific region. Until today, Japan has not retaliated against the naked North Korean provocations except making policy statements. But there is no end to North Korean provocations. Whether or not Japan is a part of a Seoul-Washington military drills, North Korea left no chance violating Japanese sovereignty as close US ally.

The long Japanese passion is highly admirable as no big or small country could tolerate violations made by another country against its territory and constantly. This is the result of Japanese post-war national psyche - not to resort to conflicts and resolve the differences through peaceful means.

Once again, on 6 March North Korea launched four missiles out of which three just fell into Japans’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in coastline of its Akita Prefecture in the Sea of Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called it a ‘’new stage of threat’’ to Japan. Yoshida Sugo, a spokesman of the Japanese government, called the latest violation as ‘’a great threat to national security’’ and defiance of UN resolutions banning North Korea from developing nuclear arms and missiles technologies. Japan launched an official protest to North Korea but without giving befitting and a tit for tat response as usual.

South Korea has strong military ties with the United States and hosts around 28,500 US soldiers on its soil to deter any possible North Korean security threat. They kicked off the Foal Eagle military exercises on 1 March involving 320,000 soldiers designed to test the allies’ preparedness for a serious military provocation from North Korea. North Korea criticises the annual drills calling them preparation for war against it. Japan also hosts 50,000 US soldiers and North Korea also criticises US presence in Japan too.

North Korea perpetually protests against the presence of US troops in the region and found it a threat against its existence. South Korea and Japan find North Korean nuclear and missile developments against their vital national security interests and could not just go away without the US support. North Korean ballistic missiles have the capacity of hitting the US mainland.

Pyongyang conducted its first nuclear test in 2006 and since then it has launched a series of five nuclear testing, which is not coming to an end. The latest test-firing is the first since President Donald Trump assumed the presidency. He wants military cuts vis-a-vis Japan. He also options for a backdoor channel to negotiate with North Korea. He also support South Korea against possible North Korean threat and blackmail.

North Korean relations with China are also tense and it, under UN sanctions, blocked the import of North Korean coal and other commodities, at least until the end of this year, striking on its lifeline. North Korea is China’s fourth-biggest supplier of coal. The latest missiles launched also looks a warning to Beijing. China, however, has its limits on its North Korean policy. The total breakup of North Korea could bring US troops on the border with China and would increase internal vulnerabilities in China.

North Korean diplomatic relations with Malaysia reached nadir after the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the elder half-brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, who was assassinated at the Kuala Lumpur Airport on 13 February. North Korea accused Malaysia, South Korea, and the United States for the murder. Malaysia has been interrogating the murder and because of North Korean allegations, Malaysian authorities expelled the DPRK ambassador from Kuala Lumpur on 4 March.

Entangled by all difficulties on its border, Kim Jong Un is advised by his military elite to launch missiles to divert global attention on these issues. By all accounts, North Korea is further isolated and confronts huge challenges even from its once close allies. Besides economic sanctions, the murder of Kim Jong Nam also caused trouble between North Korea and China.

The dirty war is not in any one’s favour. China does not want to destroy its economy and trade to protect the North Korean regime, which has adopted a suicide approach instead of nourishing its impoverished population, facing perpetual threats.

The war hysteria of Kim Jong Un should come down. The ‘’game of missiles’’ launch could result in a deadly catastrophe in the future. At some stage, Japan could not be a ‘’silent spectator ‘’ but it could effectively respond after an understanding was reached within Japan and its allies. A vital question also arises that if all of Japan’s immediate neighbours are possessing nuclear weapons then what is the logic of Japan not possessing the same to use it as a deterrence instead of keep blackmailing by North Korea.