Japan on Monday issued an order to prepare to destroy a North Korean ballistic missile or rocket that threatens Japanese territory, the Defense Ministry said, after Pyongyang notified Tokyo of plans to launch a satellite between Wednesday and June 11, Report informs, citing the Japan Times.
The plan to put a satellite into orbit — the North’s first space rocket launch in more than seven years — was met with immediate condemnation.
“Any missile launch by North Korea, even if it is called a 'satellite,' is a serious violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and a serious problem for the safety of people,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.
Kishida said Japan had “strongly urged” North Korea to exercise restraint and refrain from carrying out the launch, adding that Tokyo was cooperating with the US, South Korea, and other countries on the issue.
Pyongyang is prohibited from conducting ballistic missile launches under United Nations Security Council resolutions but says these measures do not cover its nominally civilian space program. Japan, South Korea, and the U.S., however, view the launch of satellites as a thinly veiled means of advancing its missile program, since similar technology is employed.
The government's top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, told a news conference that the Japan Coast Guard had been notified of the launch plans via email from North Korean authorities.
He said the launch could fly over Okinawa Prefecture's Nansei Island chain or other parts of Japan, a move he characterized as a "serious provocation."