Skip to main content

Japan prepares missile defense ahead of North Korea launch

From Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN
updated 3:26 AM EDT, Fri March 23, 2012
A new satellite image of a North Korean launch pad reveals a new rail extension but little on-site activity ahead of a controversial rocket launch planned for April.
A new satellite image of a North Korean launch pad reveals a new rail extension but little on-site activity ahead of a controversial rocket launch planned for April.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • North Korea's announcement of a planned satellite launch has provoked alarm
  • Other countries say it is a way of testing missile technology
  • The Japanese defense minister orders the preparation of missile defenses

Tokyo (CNN) -- The Japanese defense minister said Friday that he had ordered the country's military to prepare a missile defense system ahead of a planned rocket launch by North Korea next month.

North Korea said last week that it is planning to carry out a rocket-powered satellite launch between April 12 and 16, alarming countries around the region.

South Korea has said it considers the satellite launch an attempt to develop a nuclear-armed missile, while the United States has warned the move would jeopardize a food-aid agreement reached with Pyongyang in early March.

Naoki Tanaka, the Japanese defense minister, said at a news conference Friday that he had requested that officials get ready for the deployment of anti-missile PAC3 and Eagis ships ahead of the launch.

The Japanese government is also considering deploying a PAC3 missile defense system in Okinawa. Tanaka said he would visit Okinawa soon in preparation for such a move.

North Korea plans missile launch
U.S. food aid heading to North Korea

Tanaka had said Monday that he would consider ordering the destruction of the projectile if it presented a risk to Japan.

North Korea says it has a right to a peaceful space program and has invited international space experts and journalists to witness the launch.

In a recent notice to the International Maritime Organization regarding the "launch of an earth observation satellite," the North Korean government provided notice of where the anticipated drop zones would be for the two-stage rocket.

The notice was signed by North Korea's director general of its maritime administration, Ko Nung Du, and advised the launch would take place between 7 a.m. and noon, local time, on one of the expected days.

The rocket's path will go over "the South Korean islands of Baegryeong-do, Daecheong-do and Socheong-do, and then across open water until it passes between Japan's Miyako and Ishigaki islands before heading further south," according to the North Korea Tech blog which first obtained the North Korea documents and has plotted the coordinates.

The expected drop zones of the two-stage rocket are off the western coast of South Korea and to the east of Luzon Island in the Philippines, according to the blog.

CNN's Adam Levine contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
updated 8:05 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
updated 12:30 AM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
updated 3:17 AM EST, Fri February 21, 2014
Families torn apart for more than 60 years -- separated by the Korean War -- began to reunite at a mountain resort in North Korea Thursday.
updated 6:50 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
A stunning catalog of torture and the widespread abuse of even the weakest of North Koreans reveal a portrait of a brutal state, the UN reported.
updated 11:31 PM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
Former prisoners in North Korea describe horrific stories of being tortured by authorities.
updated 10:27 AM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
Skiing is not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about the isolated nation, but North Korea's ski resort is world class.
updated 10:15 PM EST, Fri February 7, 2014
American Kenneth Bae, who is being held in North Korea, has been moved from a hospital to a labor camp.
updated 9:13 PM EST, Tue January 7, 2014
Why is he being held by North Korea in a prison camp? These are the questions for many since his arrest in the isolated country in 2012.
updated 3:18 AM EST, Mon January 27, 2014
The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked.
updated 8:26 PM EST, Tue January 7, 2014
Dennis Rodman's "Big Bang in Pyongyang" may be in a league of its own, but other stars too have mixed with repressive regimes before.
updated 1:00 PM EST, Thu December 19, 2013
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea to train basketball players, state-run media reports.
updated 9:50 PM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
The nation held a memorial in the honor of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il on the second anniversary of his death.
updated 10:58 AM EST, Fri December 13, 2013
Days after he was removed from his powerful military post, Jang Song Thaek was called a traitor and executed.
ADVERTISEMENT