North Korea may be preparing to fire a long-range missile towards Japan's Okinawa Island, Guam or US's Hawaii, according to Japanese daily.
Yomiuri daily, the Japan's top-selling newspaper, said Thursday the missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2, would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast.
The newspaper cited a report by an analysis from Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.
The Defense Ministry said launches toward Okinawa or Guam were extremely unlikely because the first-stage booster could drop into waters off China that will agitate China, the report said.
But the ministry said the missile, with a range of 4,000-6,500 kilometers, may not be able to reach Hawaii, which is located more than 7,000 kilometers from the Korean peninsula, the report added.
US satellite intelligence has shown that a missile launch pad had been erected at Dongchang-ri on North Korea's northwest coast, the newspaper said, echoing previous media reports.
The missile launch could come between July 4 and 8, because on July 4 is US's Independence Day and July 8 is the 15th anniversary of North Korean president Kim II-Sung's death, the report said.
A spokesman for the Japanese Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report. South Korea's Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Service — the country's main spy agency — said they could not confirm it.