Japan launched its first spy satellites into orbit last week, prompting an angry reaction from North Korea. “Japan will be held fully responsible for causing a new arms race in Northeast Asia,” a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement warned. It called the launches “a hostile activity” that posed “a grave threat” to the communist state. Tensions have risen in the region in the past few months, since the U.S. accused North Korea of restarting its nuclear weapons program, and North Korea expelled U.N. inspectors. Japanese Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba downplayed the North Korean response. He said the satellites were intended purely to gather information to protect Japan, “not to attack some other country in the realm of science fiction.”
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