July 16 (UPI) -- North Korea is slamming the Japanese government following the release of a defense white paper that claimed Pyongyang has the capability to launch a nuclear attack against Japan.
A spokesman for Pyongyang's foreign ministry told KCNA on Thursday the defense white paper was Japanese "foolish talk" that exposes Japan's ambition of rearmament on a "grand national scale."
Japan is "trying to legalize military consolidation on a grand scale, legitimize the seizure of [foreign] territory" with new policies, North Korea claimed.
On Tuesday, Japan suggested in the white paper the Kim Jong Un regime might have overcome technical challenges of atmospheric re-entry for nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. The paper stated North Korea's attacks could take Japan's defense networks by surprise.
The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also proposed the country acquire the potential ability to mount a pre-emptive first strike against enemy bases.
"By jabbering on about [North Korean] missile threats and stirring up fears in Japanese society, the Abe regime demonstrates it has not been able to abandon bad habits that have been used to realize [Japan's] wicked political and military objectives," Pyongyang's foreign ministry said.
North Korea also said Japan has "completely discarded the appearance of an exclusively defensive security policy."
"The Abe regime's haphazard and dangerous military movements will light a fuse that will destroy the peace and stability of the region," the foreign ministry said. "Like a foolish tiger moth lured to its death by a flame, this will lead to the ruin of the regime itself."
Tensions between Japan and North Korea are rising after Japan's decision to cancel its planned deployment of two Aegis Ashore missile defense systems.
Japan's military policy is changing at a time when the Trump administration could be seeking greater defense contributions from Tokyo.
Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said President Donald Trump is seeking $8 billion in annual contributions, and that there is a possibility Trump could withdraw troops from Japan if his demands are unmet, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday.
There are about 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan.