Japan will shoot down any part of the long-range rocket that North Korea plans to launch next month that enters its territory, the Japanese defense minister, Naoki Tanaka, said Friday.
Speaking at a news conference, Tanaka said he had issued the official order after instructing the Japanese military earlier in the week to prepare the country's missile defense shield against the planned rocket launch.
North Korea announced earlier this month that it would launch a rocket carrying a satellite between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of the Communist state.
Pyongyang says the operation is for "peaceful purposes," but Japan, the United States and South Korea see the launch as a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test.
Firing the long-range rocket would breach U.N. Security Council resolutions, and Washington has suspended a recent deal to provide food aid to North Korea as a result.FULL STORY