US secretary of state John Kerry arrived in Japan on Sunday to discuss nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula after securing vital support from China to help defuse the weeks-long crisis.
On the final stop of a 10-day tour, he was to meet first with Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, which has deployed Patriot missiles around the capital in anticipation of a missile launch by the North.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will hold talks with Kerry on Monday, said Pyongyang had to realise it was harming itself by being “provocative”. There are fears any launch could come on Monday, the anniversary of the birth of the North’s late founder Kim Il-Sung. The presence of Kerry in the region, ensuring maximum publicity, may also appeal to the regime.
“The government will do its utmost to protect the lives and safety of the Japanese people,” Abe said.
“The international community has to be united and make North realise their provocative acts do not bring any benefit,” Abe added.