Japan Ready to Shoot Down NKorea Missile

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan gave its military the green light on Friday to shoot down any incoming North Korean rocket, with tensions high ahead of a planned launch that the US and allies say will be an illegal missile test.

Japanese and US warships have already deployed ahead of the April 4-8 window, when the secretive North has said it will launch a communications satellite — warning that shooting it down would be seen as an act of war.

But South Korea, Japan and the United States have all warned the North that any launch would be unacceptable, amid fears the regime is actually intending to test a long-range missile that could reach North America.

The security council in Japan, officially pacifist since the end of World War II, decided ahead of time to shoot down any incoming missile that could hit its territory rather than wait until a launch.

“The security council this morning decided to issue a destruction order in advance,” said Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada. “We will do our best to handle any flying object from North Korea.”

The North said Thursday that even referring a launch to the United Nations would ruin the long-running and erratic six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, during which North Korea has already tested one missile and an atomic bomb.

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~ by Simon on March 27, 2009.

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