Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has ordered the Self-Defense Force to shoot down any missile from North Korea that will threaten Japanese airspace. This comes in the light of recent medium-range ballistic missiles that Pyongyang has tested in the past weeks, with most of them aimed towards the Sea of Japan.
Media reports are saying that the order, which has not been made public, is for the SDF to shoot down missiles “if any are launched and threaten to fall within Japanese territory” since these medium-range missiles are capable of reaching Japan. While ministry officials have not confirmed if this order was officially issued, they have done so in the past when North Korea was threatening to fire missiles towards Japan and South Korea. This will be the fifth time that a directive like that has been issued since 2009. Reports also say that an Aegis-equipped destroyer carrying interceptor missiles has been deployed to the Sea of Japan. This vessel is capable of guiding weapons to destroy missiles that are in flight through high-tech radar technology.
During his visit on Sunday to Tokyo, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has also assured Japan of their support in defending itself against any threat from the reclusive state. They are planning to send two more Aegis destroyers to join the five others stationed in Japan that will serve as a deterrent for Pyongyang to fire any more missiles.
[ via Channel News Asia ]