The Japanese Armed Forces could shoot down North Korea’s satellite, planned to be launched next month, as the need arises, Japan's Sankei newspaper reported on Saturday quoting Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka as saying.
The North Korean state news agency KCNA announced on Friday that it would launch an earth observation satellite next month to mark the 100th birthday of its late founding leader Kim Il-sung. The planned launch will be in violation of North Korea’s international obligations and a UN resolution banning Pyongyang from conducting ballistic missile launches.
A similar launch in 2009 drew international criticism and led to UN Security Council sanctions. Sankei said that country's former defense minister Yasukazu Hamada ordered then to deploy missile defense system to protect Japan from North Korean missiles if they fell onto Japanese territory.
The Unha-3 rocket carrying the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite is scheduled to lift off from a launch pad in Cholsan, a coastal town in the country's northwest, between April 12 and 16.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement that Pyongyang's plans to launch the satellite in April violated the international obligations and were highly provocative. She also reminded that UN Security Council Resolution 1874 prohibited North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology.