Three Japanese military ships were deployed today to nearby waters in preparation for the North Korean missile that the communist country says will be launched between December 10th and 22nd. The Aegis destroyers will travel to areas in the East China Sea and Sea of Japan, along the Pyongyang government’s intended trajectory.
Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have already stated they will be prepared to shoot down what North Korea claims is a satellite should it pose a threat to the country. A separate Naval ship was also seen as delivering PAC-3 interception missiles to Okinawa on Thursday morning. Just as they did in April of this year, when Pyongyang’s last failed weapons test took place, the Japanese government is setting up defenses in Okinawa, as well as downtown Tokyo. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet is expected to give the order on Friday for the SDF to shoot down anything that heads towards Japan.
South Korean intelligence revealed yesterday that the three stages of the missile had been assembled on the North Korean launch pad. Ignoring U.N. sanctions and international condemnation, the North states the “satellite’s” path will be “safe” and not be a bother to its Asian neighbors. Moments after the launch in April, the rocket fell apart and crashed into the Ocean near the Philippines. The U.S., South Korea, and Japan are all pledging their cooperation to monitor North Korea’s activities, as well as jointly call on the U.N. Security Council to impose penalties on the isolated nation after the long-range test.[via Asiaone]