Japan is reportedly planning to build missiles capable of striking North Korea.
It is ramping the defence of its border to ward off any anticipated threats, reports say.
The Asian country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party signed off on a proposal that would give it the ability to launch pre-emptive strikes on overseas missile bases.
Part of the plan will allow the development of a high-speed gliding missile capable of travelling more than 600 miles, which would place North Korea and China in their range.
Japan will also upgrade an existing ground-to-sea missile into a weapon that can fly around 128 miles, costing the country around $321,000 (£240,000).
The government has denied the new missile system is being designed to counteract North Korea, but it is understood there is a growing belief Japan needs to be able to destroy North Korean missiles on the ground before they are launched.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said: "It is not aimed at attacking enemy bases."
North Korean state media has accused Japan of "acts to realise overseas aggression" amid its increased defence spending.
North Korea executes man with firing squad for 'breaking Covid restrictions'
The reclusive state has been on the offensive this week as Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said South Korea would "pay dearly" after doubting claims their neighbour does not have any coronavirus cases.
North Korea is widely believed to have missiles capable of reaching long-range targets, including potentially the US mainland.
In October the state unveiled what is believed to be one of the world's largest intercontinental ballistic missiles.
There is much trepidation across the world how to deal with a country such as North Korea which has nuclear capabilities.
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