Japan to 'shoot down' North Korean rockets 'if it threatens nation's territory'
Japan has issued an order to shoot down a North Korean rocket if it threatens the country's territory, a government official has said.
Japan has readied surface-to-air missiles in and around Tokyo, as well as in Okinawa, and is putting its armed forces on standby ahead of Pyongyang's planned missile launch.
It is also deploying Aegis warships in neighbouring waters, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Osamu Fujimura, said that the Defence Minister, Satoshi Morimoto, has told forces to destroy the projectile or any parts that look set to fall on Japanese territory.
"Once Pyongyang launches the rocket, the government will swiftly deliver information to local authorities and broadcasters," the paper quoted Fujimura, as saying.
"We would like people to carry on as normal because the missile won't fall towards Japan if all goes as expected," he said.
"North Korea's rocket launch clearly violates UN security council resolutions, and also contradicts the UNSC presidential statement issued after the launch in April. If the launch is forced through, Japan will regard it as extremely deplorable," he added.
The communist North announced last week a December 10 to 22 window, its second long-range rocket launch this year after a much-hyped but botched attempt in April.
Pyongyang insists it is a peaceful satellite launch, but the international community sees it as a poorly disguised test of ballistic missile technology.