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FACT CHECK: Japan is not gearing to attack North Korea


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FACT CHECK: Japan is not gearing to attack North Korea
Since the end of World War II, Japan has adopted a security policy principle to primarily use defense-oriented strategies in response to foreign disputes, prohibiting preemptive strikes

The Claim: Japan is moving troops and missile units on a remote island in the East China Sea to attack North Korea.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: As of writing, the YouTube video, posted on March 19, has gained more than 12,329 views and 1,100 thousand likes from a channel with more than a million subscribers.

The Facts: The CNN article cited in the video reports that the relocation of troops and missile units in remote islands near China and Taiwan was made to reinforce regional defenses. The move is a response to the increased spotting of Chinese warships on the islands’ contiguous zone. 

Article III of Japan’s National Defense Program Outline clearly states that the country has an exclusively defense-oriented policy in response to threats from other countries. 

The country has added counter-strike capabilities to its Ground Self-Defense Force through its National Security Strategy (NSS), approved by Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on December 16, 2022. However, this capability is only meant to disrupt confirmed threats to the country; Japan’s prohibitions on preemptive strikes remain unchanged.

There have been no reports, from both the Japanese government and local media, that mentioned Japan sending armed forces to attack North Korea.

Not the first: Reports of Japan’s supposed attack on North Korea have been in circulation since 2022. Similar claims have since then resurfaced after Pyongyang launched a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) near the Korean peninsula and Japan. 

The missile launches were conducted amid the US-South Korea military drills that North Korea condemned as “open hostility.”

Rappler has previously fact-checked similar claims of Japan supposedly preparing military forces and sending tanks to North Korea. – Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com 

Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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