Japan issues order to shoot down N. Korean missile


TOKYO: Japan’s defence minister Friday issued an order to shoot down a North Korean rocket if it threatens the nation’s territory, Jiji Press news agency said.

Japan has readied a surface-to-air missile defence system and is putting its armed forces on standby ahead of a planned North Korean missile launch this month. Tokyo is also deploying Aegis warships in neighbouring waters.

Defence Minister Satoshi Morimoto issued an advance order to Japanese forces to shoot down the rocket or its parts if it looks set to fall on Japanese territory, according to the news agency.

Immediate confirmation of the report was not available.

The communist North announced last week that it would launch a rocket between December 10 and 22 – its second long-range rocket launch this year after a much-hyped but botched attempt in April.

Washington and Seoul have urged Pyongyang to scrap the launch while Tokyo has postponed talks originally planned this week with North Korea. – AFP