The U.S. and America would jointly deploy Aegis-equipped destroyers and land-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles in Japan's southern islands ahead of North Korea's planned rocket launch in April, NHK television reported Japanese defense officials as saying.
We are considering mobilizing PAC-3 missiles to Okinawa Island, or to Ishigaki or Sakishima islands, to defend our country against any contingencies, the Associated Press reported quoting Vice Defense Minister Shu Watanabe.
Though North Korea claims that its move is aimed at launching a satellite to commemorate former president Kim II Sung's birth centenary, yet the U.S. and Japan believe that Pyongyang is test firing its long-range missile in the pretext of a satellite launch.
North Korea's decision to launch the rocket has invoked strong responses from the world powers, who argued that North Korea is violating its agreement with the UN and the US on a nuclear disarmament. Japan's Defense minister Monday said that it might shoot down the rocket if it violated Japan's airspace, according to an Associated Press report.
Meanwhile, the US and other world powers have intensified diplomatic efforts to convince Pyongyang to abandon its rocket launch program. However, Pyongyang is still sticking to its decision to launch the rocket in April.
South Korea, which is also concerned of North Korea's intentions, has said that it will take necessary precautions to avoid damage to its people and property. Seoul said it will change the routes of some of its planes and vessels to avoid a possible danger to them.
North Korea has already notified the international aviation and maritime agencies of the flight path, according to a Times of India report.