Japan has approved a deployment of interceptors in case debris falls onto its territory if a North Korean rocket launch fails, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported Friday.
Japan’s national security council approved the order, which allows the defense minister to mobilize the missile defense system for the first time, NHK said.
WASHINGTON: White House warns North Korea on rocket launch
North Korea has said it will launch a communications satellite between April 4-8, and has designated waters off northern Japan as at risk for falling fragments. Japan and its allies have called the launch an attempt to test long-range ballistic missile technology and demanded the North cancel the plan.
Japan is also set to shift some of the PAC-3 land-to-air missiles, now around Tokyo, to the north coast and to send a pair of destroyers carrying missile interceptors to nearby waters.
Pyongyang has designated the waters off northern Akita and Iwate prefectures as a risk zone for falling fragments.
Japan has also warned of additional sanctions against North Korea if the country goes ahead with a launch. The Japanese parliament is set to issue a statement Friday urging the North to scrap the launch, which Japan says violates a U.N. Security Council resolution barring North Korea from any ballistic missile development activity.
Japan imposed tight trade sanctions against Pyongyang in 2006 after it tested ballistic missiles in waters between the two countries and conducted an atomic test. Japan’s current sanctions, which have been extended every six months, are set to expire April 13.