TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan has upgraded its estimate of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability in an upcoming annual Defence White Paper, saying it seems Pyongyang has achieved the miniaturization of warheads, the Yomiuri newspaper said in an unsourced report on Wednesday.
That compares with the assessment in last year’s report in which the government said it was possible North Korea had achieved miniaturization, the Japanese daily said without citing sources.
The report, to be approved at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September, will maintain the assessment that North Korea’s military activities pose a “serious and imminent threat”, the Yomiuri said.
North Korea’s ability to build nuclear warheads small enough to fit on its ballistic missiles has been widely accepted for several years, but the Japanese report highlights the lack of progress on denuclearisation talks aimed at curtailing the program, said Vipin Narang, a nuclear affairs expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.
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