Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wire: Japan Preps for North Korea Missile Launch

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

For First Time, Tokyo Says It Will Deploy Missile Interceptors Against Rocket or Debris From Pyongyang's Planned Launch

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2009 -- Newswires reported Saturday that Japan's move Friday to deploy missile interceptors is the boldest challenge North Korea faces so far to its plan to launch a rocket in the next few days.

In The Wall Street Journal, Yumiko Ono detailed the news :
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said he ordered the deployment of missile interceptors to Japan's northern coast to prepare to shoot down the rocket and any debris that could fall on Japanese territory. It was the first such order Japan had issued, a ministry spokesman said.

North Korea said it will launch a rocket carrying a satellite between April 4 and April 8, and warned that fragments could fall into the Sea of Japan between the two countries as well as southeast of Japan in the Pacific Ocean.

Japan and its allies suspect the rocket is a new long-range missile, and have demanded that Pyongyang cancel the plan. A launch would violate United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed in 2006 after North Korea tested a long-range missile.

Any action Japan takes would be restricted to shooting at material that threatens to fall on Japanese land or sea. Nevertheless, the move is a bold one for Japan, which has a pacifist constitution that strictly restricts its military to measures of national defense.
The Journal also reported that the U.S. has been leaning against trying to shoot down the North's projectile and a senior U.S. official this week said the administration has ruled it out.

The Japanese government said two destroyers carrying sea-to-air missiles would also be deployed in nearby waters, joining U.S. and South Korean warships in the area, the report said.

(Report from a commercial news source.)

Source: Japan Prepares for North Korea Missile Launch

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