Japan remains on high alert for North Korean launch

Featured Japan - December 11th, 2012
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Japan remained on high alert over North Korea’s rocket launch despite Pyongyang’s decision to further extend the launch period due to what it said were “technical difficulties”.

Tokyo plans to extend an order for the Self Defense Forces to shoot down the North Korean missile if it threatens Japanese territory in accordance to the longer launch window, Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said Tuesday.

The government also intends to “put priority on crisis management” and notify local authorities once a US early warning satellite detects launch signs.

“We cannot let down our guard as we never know when North Korea will launch the rocket,” a government official told The Nikkei.

Japan has also deployed Maritime Self Defense Force ships armed with anti-ballistic missiles and missile batteries at islands directly under the projected flight path of the rocket. The US Navy sent ships to the region to track the rocket launch and said it would readily participate in ballistic missile defense.

Citizens were asked to go about their lives as normal as the chances of rocket debris falling into Japanese territory are very slim, reports The Nikkei.