Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday condemned Pyongyang’s plan to launch a rocket, calling it "a serious provocation" that would violate UN Security Council resolutions.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday condemned Pyongyang's plan to launch a rocket, calling it "a serious provocation" that would violate UN Security Council resolutions.
The remark by the hawkish Japanese leader came after North Korea gave a shipping warning to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that it would launch an earth observation satellite between February 8-25.
"If North Korea goes ahead and launches the rocket, it would clearly violate UN Security Council resolutions and pose a serious provocation," he said in parliament.
"The reality is that it is a launch of a ballistic missile," Abe added, rejecting Pyongyang's insistence its space program is purely scientific in nature.
Separately, Japan has deployed PAC-3 surface-to-air missile defense systems in at least three bases in Tokyo and its environs, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani told reporters Tuesday.
Nakatani added that the ministry "is taking every necessary measure" to address contingencies linked to a possible ballistic missile launch by North Korea.
During previous recent launches Japan's military has issued orders to shoot down any rocket or debris that threatens its territory.
Nakatani, however, refrained from confirming whether a so-called destroy order had been issued.