Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned today that North Korea could launch missiles with deadly chemical weapons.
Mr Abe told a parliamentary session in Tokyo: “There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads.”
Referring to Bashar al-Assad's recent alleged sarin gas attack on Syria which killed at least 85 citizens including children, Mr Abe said Japan had to be bolster its defences.
Tension is escalating between North Korea and the west after Kim Jong-un made threats towards the US and Japan.
Donald Trump has warned that an “armada” is heading towards the Korean peninsula after he sent a navy carrier group into the region.
Kim is reportedly ready to launch a nuclear weapons test as a show of strength after it promised to retaliate “by powerful force of arms” to US actions.
Satellite images show that North Korea’s nuclear site is “primed and ready” for a test, which could come as soon as Saturday according to the Voice of America.
This Saturday North Korea will mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim Il-sung. The date has in previous years been used for weapon tests.
Could the North Korean despot Kim Jong-un launch sarin gas on his enemies?
A 2016 South Korean report claims North Korea has thousands of chemical weapons stockpiled
Could Kim Jong-un use sarin gas?
There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads
Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister
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Kim Jong-un allegedly sits on a stockpile of 2,000 to 2,500 chemical weapons, according to a white paper report drafted by South Korea in 2016.
These weapons are said to have been in development since 1980 and contain deadly diseases such as anthrax, smallpox and the plague.
Another report from Stratfor Enterprises concluded that Kim's regime is capable of striking positions outside of Korea.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for Japan to bolster its defences
“Ballistic missiles could strike US military positions beyond the Korean Peninsula, specifically in Japan,” the report said.
“Whatever the targets, Pyongyang's existing ballistic missile stockpile could easily deliver approximately one kiloton (1,000 metric tons) of high explosives, as well as other non conventional munitions — chemical, biological or even nuclear.”
After a long-range missile test in August 2016, Kim claimed that the US and its “operational theatre in the Pacific” are now within his “striking range”.
Forbidden photographs depict the true North Korean army
Wed, April 12, 2017
While tourists are able to visit North Korea as part of a controlled tour group, they are asked by their handlers to never take photographs of soldiers. These pictures taken by photographer Eric Lafforgue show the reality of military service in the secretive state
ERIC LAFFORGUE/EXCLUSIVEPIX MEDI
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Soldiers enjoy a ride at the funfair in Pyongyang
What is sarin gas?
Sarin gas is an odourless and colourless deadly chemical weapon which was developed by accident just before the outbreak of World War Two.
The toxic chemical works as a lethal nerve agent, even at low concentrations, and is considered a weapon of mass destruction. It is roughly 26 times more potent than cyanide.
Sarin gas kills by attacking the nervous system and breaking down neurotransmitters. This leaves the body in a state of helplessness as it loses control over its muscles.
Kim Jong-un is prepared to launch a nuclear attack if the US intervenes
Death will then usually occur as the lack of muscle control leads to asphyxiation as the affected person loses the ability to breathe. This usually happens one to 10 minutes after inhalation.
The toxin can be breathed in or absorbed through the skin and sticks to clothing for periods of up to 30 minutes.
Te best way to treat a sarin attack is to swiftly administer atropine and pralidoxime antidotes before the gas causes irreparable damage.