Some Japanese lawmakers are pushing for a first-strike plan of their own, using ballistic or cruise missiles, or F-35 stealth fighters.
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Sometime in the early morning, a missile roars off its launcher in North Korea and flies off – to a splash zone somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.If it were to launch such a strike first, the first wave of missiles could land with essentially no warning.It has Patriot missile-defense batteries, but they are intended to protect against short-range Scud missiles.One nuclear scenario that has been raised is an attack on the city of Busan, a major port sometimes used by the U.S. Navy.It helped develop with the U.S. the ship-based Aegis system, which is designed to intercept medium-range missiles and potentially intermediate-range ones – that means missiles with a range of less than about 5,000 kilometers.The Patriots are designed to intercept an incoming missile at its "terminal stage" – just before it hits – if the Aegis' ship-based SM-3 missiles fail to intercept them farther out and higher up, at midcourse.30-34 MINUTESTo be classified as an ICBM – intercontinental ballistic missile – the missile must have a minimum range of 5,500 kilometers. North Korea does not at this time have such a missile, as far as the experts can tell.
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