Japan has warned that the threat from North Korean nuclear weapons has reached a “new stage” now that it appears to have developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US mainland. In its defense white paper, Japan’s government said Pyongyang’s weapons program had “advanced considerably,” adding that it was possible that the regime had acquired the ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads. “North Korea’s development of ballistic missiles and its

nuclear program are becoming increasingly real and imminent problems for the Asia-Pacific region including Japan, as well as the rest of the world,” said the report, which ran to more than 500 pages. Japan’s defense ministry said that security threats had reached a new stage after the North conducted two nuclear tests and more than 20 ballistic missile launches last year. The report went on to speculate that North Korea had improved its technological expertise to the point where it could theoretically marry a nuclear warhead with a missile. READ MORE