As the reports continue that North Korea is making preparations to launch a missile sometime in the indeterminate future, the Japanese government is seen as making plans to shoot down the weapon should it pose a threat to the country’s territory. The Yomiuri newspaper and Jiji news agency both reported that the Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was expected to issue the order to Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) within “a day or two” from Sunday, while the Kyodo agency quoted an unnamed government official as saying the order wouldn’t be made public in order to avoid a panic.
Reports from South Korea last week said that the Pyongyang government had loaded and positioned two missiles on mobile launchers in hidden locations along the peninsula’s east coast, following a number of North Korean threats against the United States. Once the Japanese government gives the order to intercept the missile, it is expected that Aegis destroyers equipped with interception rockets would be deployed in the Sea of Japan, much like in April and December of 2012, when North Korea carried out what it claimed were satellite launches.
Late last week Pyongyang issued an evacuation advisory to several foreign embassies in the capital city, warning that it could not guarantee their safety after April 10th should there be a conflict. Kyodo’s government source commented that it was unlikely the North’s missile would target Japan, yet they are “determined to be prepared for any contingency.” In the last several weeks of North Korea’s threats, it has been stated that Japan, as an ally of the U.S., would not be spared in any conflict, as well as that the U.S. military bases in Okinawa and Guam were within range of their weapons.
[via Courier Mail]