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Report: Shinzo Abe played golf after North Korea fired missiles

By
Elizabeth Shim
President Donald Trump watches as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a putt during their golf game on May 26 at the Mobara Country Club in Chiba, Japan. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/White House
President Donald Trump watches as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a putt during their golf game on May 26 at the Mobara Country Club in Chiba, Japan. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/White House | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is drawing scorn from local media following reports he went golfing last Thursday, the same day North Korea tested two short-range missiles.

Abe, who has played golf with U.S. President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate and more recently in Japan, did not return to his office following North Korea's latest round of rocket tests, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Tuesday.

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The Japanese prime minister instead headed for a golf course in Fujikawaguchiko, a town located in Yamanashi Prefecture, according to the report.

Abe went golfing because he assessed the situation and concluded North Korea's short-range ballistic missiles would not affect Japan's security.

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The missiles, likely a North Korean version of the Russian-made Iskander, a short-range, nuclear-capable projectile, puts parts of Japan within range, the Mainichi reported.

Last Thursday, North Korea launched two short-range missiles at 5:34 a.m. and 5:57 a.m. from Wonsan to the East Sea, or Sea of Japan.

Not long after the tests, Abe began to play a round of golf at 7:01 a.m., according to reports.

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In the middle of the game, Abe met with reporters and said he is not worried about North Korea's tests.

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"We have confirmed it is not a situation that affects the security of [Japan]," Abe reportedly said, before returning to the golf course.

Abe began his vacation last Wednesday, and returned to Tokyo on Monday.

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Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is also taking a relatively low-key approach to the tests, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday.

At a regular press briefing, Suga said Japan and the United States are "in agreement" about the missile tests.

"They are short-range missiles, and many people have those missiles," Trump recently said.

Suga also said the two countries will continue to work together on the full implementation of United Nations Security Councils sanctions resolutions against North Korea, according to Yonhap.

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