In a joint news conference Monday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Trump expressed a desire to arm Japan against North Korean threats, The Associated Press reports. Trump apparently said that once Abe "completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States," he "will easily shoot [North Korean missiles] out of the sky."
Although Japan's pacifist constitution does not allow its military to shoot down missiles unless they pose a direct threat to the country, Abe announced a plan earlier this year to revise the country's self-defense clause through a constitutional amendment in 2020. On Saturday, The Japan Times reported that Trump apparently had told leaders of southeast Asian countries that he did not understand why "a country of samurai warriors" like Japan did not shoot down North Korean missiles that flew over the country earlier this year.
Trump's comments come days before he is scheduled to visit South Korea and call for "maximizing pressure" on Pyongyang in a speech in front of the South Korean National Assembly. White House officials and Asian leaders fear that North Korea may launch a missile test or conduct an atmospheric nuclear test during Trump's visit to Japan or South Korea, Politico reported Saturday. Last week, South Korea's spy agency warned the South Korean National Assembly that it sees signs indicating that North Korea is preparing to launch a missile test.