(Tokyo) Japan on Saturday ordered its military to prepare to shoot down a North Korean ballistic missile that Pyongyang needs to launch its first military reconnaissance spy satellite into orbit.
Japanese Minister Yasukazu Hamada has instructed the country’s troops to “implement necessary measures to limit damage in the event of a ballistic missile fall,” according to a Defense Ministry statement.
Preparations include the deployment of destroyers equipped with SM-3 missile interceptors, the implementation of military units in Okinawa Prefecture (south), operational for Patriot PAC-3 type missiles.
According to the North Korean state news agency on Wednesday, Kim Jong-un ordered the launch of his first military reconnaissance spy satellite without specifying when the launch would take place.
Putting this satellite into orbit would require the use of a long-range projectile, the launch of which is considered by the United Nations as a ballistic missile test which North Korea has, in theory, not the right to use.
In 2012 and 2016, North Korea conducted ballistic missile tests that Pyongyang called satellite launches.
Both missiles had flown over the Okinawa region.
According to Japanese media, the country’s Defense Ministry announced the same preparations in 2012.