TOKYO (AFP) - Japan said on Wednesday (Feb 3) that it would destroy a North Korean missile if it threatened to fall on its territory, after Pyongyang announced it planned to launch a space rocket this month.
"Today the Defence Minister issued an order" to destroy such a missile if it "is confirmed that it will fall on Japanese territory", the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Defence Minister Gen Nakatani issued the order, citing the "possibility that North Korea will launch a missile it calls a 'satellite' within coming days", the statement said.
The order will be carried out by Japan's ballistic missile defence system, which includes PAC-3 surface-to-air anti-ballistic missiles, and similar SM-3 systems aboard warships, the ministry said.
The order will be effective until Feb 25, it added, the end of the launch window announced by Pyongyang that begins on Feb 8.