‘Japan, S. Korea may go nuclear over Korean Peninsula tensions’

The increase in tensions on the Korean Peninsula could lead to the militarization of Japan and South Korea up to the point where they decide to develop or obtain their own nuclear weapons, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.

RT: North Korea has expanded its aggressive rhetoric - putting Tokyo on its virtual hit list in this war of words. Do you think Japan could have acted differently under the circumstances?

Michael Maloof: Japan, like the others, like S. Korea and the United States should be keeping a very low profile, keep their powder dry but not make any provocations and I think as long as there are provocations under way such as those continued US-South Korean military exercises, this crisis is going to continue, if not explode due to some miscalculation.  

RT:But what is the North Korean problem with Japan in the nutshell?

MA: North Korea has a long standing relation with Japan. Japan occupied Korea during WWII but it’s also a Chosen Soren, as it is called in Japan and it receives lots of its technology and foreign currency from Japan but it is also a base for a lot of US facilities and Japan has threatened to shoot down any missiles that might go over it from N. Korea. But primarily it is because the United States has bases there and they see the US as the primary threat.

RT:Could the escalating tension on the Korean peninsula push Japan towards militarization - perhaps even develop nuclear weapons?

MA: That is the extreme fear. It is not being mentioned publically but not only Japan but South Korea. You have a new government in Japan and they have been talking about militarizing. That will really upset the power in that entire region, if either one or both of those countries decide to go ahead and militarize to the point of going to nuclear weapons. Both countries have the industrial capability. They can probably have nuclear weapons within six month if they made that decision.

But I think in Japan, you had some parliamentarians and some influential politicians in Japan openly calling for this now and they’re all members of the ruling party. It is really something to watch and that is just going to create an even greater provocation and it’s also something that will be really unsettling to other countries in the region, particularly China. This could be another arms build-up that can easily get out of control.

RT:During his visit in South Korea, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to damp down anxiety caused by a Pentagon report that was mistakenly made public - it claimed Pyongyang had the technology in place to launch a nuclear attack. Do you think that is the case?

MA: I think it is possible. I’ve been watching it for some time and I think the fact that they had a test in February, it was for miniaturization, N. Koreans admitted that. And then right after is when N. Korea began to extend threats of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the United States. That told me in effect that they had some success in miniaturization that is to fit a nuclear weapon on to a missile. That would extend the range.

In the December missile shot, they were able to successfully test that missile but also they were able to launch a satellite and put it into orbit. That satellite could become a nuclear warhead in the future. It extends the range considerably, it could cover the entire US and the N. Koreans can actually conduct a high altitude explosive and actually create what we would call an electromagnetic affect, pulse affect that would cripple the US grid system, which is very vulnerable.