18 April, 2017
North Korea is capable of launching a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. "There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to put sarin on warheads to strike the ground", he said.
In addition, the country will commemorate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il-sung, on Saturday and the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army on April 25. And with U.S. -South Korean wargames ongoing, North Korean has intensified rhetoric warning it would retaliate strongly against any aggression.
According to South Korea's 2016 Defense White Paper, North Korea has been developing chemical weapons since 1980.
South Korea has long said it believes the North can conduct its sixth nuclear test whenever it chooses. New satellite images suggest North Korea might soon conduct another underground detonation.
The report said that stockpile could be deployed "by modifying a variety of conventional munitions, including artillery and ballistic missiles". Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied any "imminent danger", however.More news: Chappelle salutes Murphy at Mayer concert
Abe cited Syria, where dozens of people died recently in an alleged sarin nerve gas attack, as an example that Japan should take seriously, stressing the need to strengthen its deterrence against the North.
Abe's disclosure came in response to a question that had been occasionally asked in the past but is now more realistic than ever with North Korea's missile capability rapidly advancing and tension with the USA rising.
Global tensions have been mounting after analysts said the rogue regime was preparing a nuclear test site ahead of a key anniversary on Saturday - occasions when North Korea has been known to test its military hardware.
On Tuesday President Trump tweeted that the United States would not be afraid to act alone on North Korea if Beijing does not help.