Trump reportedly can’t understand why Japan didn’t shoot down North Korea missiles.

Trump Reportedly Can’t Understand Why Japan Didn’t Shoot Down North Korea Missiles

Trump Reportedly Can’t Understand Why Japan Didn’t Shoot Down North Korea Missiles

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Nov. 5 2017 9:29 AM

Trump Reportedly Can’t Understand Why Japan Didn’t Shoot Down North Korea Missiles

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President Donald Trump prepares to address U.S. soldiers as his wife Melania looks on upon arriving at the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo on November 5, 2017.

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is apparently disappointed that Japan failed to shoot down the North Korean missiles that flew over the country earlier this year, according to diplomatic sources that talked to the Kyodo news agency. Trump reportedly questioned the country’s decision during conversations with Southeast Asian leaders over the past few months. The president was particularly confused about the lack of action because Japan is a “country of samurai warriors,” according to the report.

North Korea launched ballistic missiles over Japan in August and September. But Japan’s miliary quickly concluded the missiles were not a direct threat to the country and did not interrupt their path before they crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Commentators on Twitter were flabbergasted by the remarks, surprised at how the U.S. president seemingly did not understand how shooting down the North Korea missiles could have been seen as an act of war that would have needlessly escalated the conflict.

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The reports out of Japanese media came shortly before Trump arrived in Tokyo early Sunday and launched his Asia tour with a warning that seemed to be directed at Pyongyang. “No one—no dictator, no regime and no nation—should underestimate, ever, American resolve,” Trump told U.S. and Japanese troops at the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo. “We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom and our great American flag.” The commander in chief also warned of crossing the “most fearsome fighting force in the history of our world.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.