North Korea announces ‘satellite’ launch: Japan

Japan stated on Monday that it is geared up for North Korea to launch what Pyongyang claims is a satellite in the coming weeks, but which Tokyo suspects could actually be a ballistic missile.

According to a coastguard spokesman who spoke to AFP, Pyongyang has alerted Japan’s coastguard that a rocket will be launched between May 31 and June 11 and will land in waters close to the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and east of Luzon Island in the Philippines.

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However, the prime minister’s office in a tweet said Fumio Kishida issued instructions “on North Korea’s notification about the launch of a ballistic missile that it describes as a satellite”.

The post also stated that he had instructed authorities to gather intelligence, exercise caution, and closely communicate with allies, such as the United States and South Korea.

Also, the Air Self-Defense Force has been instructed by Japan’s defense minister to shoot down any ballistic missile that is confirmed to be headed for its territory.

According to the ministry, the forces would be permitted to shoot down an object in midair using Patriot Missile PAC-3 and Standard Missile SM-3.

“Even if it’s described as a satellite, a launch using ballistic missile technology would be a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and a serious problem that threatens the safety of people,” Kishida told reporters.

In recent months, Pyongyang has increased the number of missile launches, some of which have set off emergency alert systems in some areas of Japan.

At this time, Seoul and Tokyo have been attempting to repair their long-broken relations, notably by cooperating more on North Korea’s military threats.

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