Japan's missile defense systems are ready for the imminent North Korean rocket launch, which could take place at any moment.
Pyongyang's launch window opened Thursday and the rocket, which is said to be carrying a research satellite, will be sent into the atmosphere sometime before Tuesday. Japan is ready to shoot down the Unha-3 rocket with its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 land-to-air missiles if the North Korean rocket flies over Japanese air-space.
''We would like to call [on North Korea] for restraint until the very end, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said outside his office on Thursday, adding that we are fully prepared to deal with any contingency.
The lower house of Japan's parliament also passed a resolution on Thursday declaring any action that could harm peace and stability in northeast Asia can't be tolerated, according to the Indo-Asian News Service.
“From our viewpoint, the launching of a missile by North Korea is in violation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, Japan's deputy cabinet secretary for public relations, Noriyuki Shikata, stated.
This would lead to damaging peace and stability in the region. That’s why we have been trying to make North Korea reach a decision not to do so.
In advance of the launch, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines have also diverted airline flights and fishing boats that might be working where debris from the rocket launch could fall. The rocket is expected to touch down in the ocean northeast of the Philippines.
North Korea says the launch is only designed to send a new observation satellite into orbit, but a number of global powers have condemned the launch as a thinly veiled test of a new long-range missile, one that could carry a nuclear warhead in the future.