- Title: JAPAN: Government alert ahead of possible North Korean rocket launch
- Date: 10th December 2012
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (DECEMBER 10, 2012) (REUTERS) DEFENSE MINISTRY BUILDING PAC3 MISSILE LAUNCHER MORE OF PAC3 JAPANESE SELF DEFENSE FORCES(JSDF) TROOPS IN VEHICLES MORE OF JSDF TROOPS MEDIA FILMING PAC3 LAUNCHERS MORE OF MEDIA FILMING
- Embargoed: 25th December 2012 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Conflict,Defence / Military
- Reuters ID: LVABK0AZ4JF5AHCBT1NC446ICE8B
- Story Text: Japan's government remained on alert on Monday (December 10) for North Korea's rocket launch even after the reclusive country said that the launch might have to be delayed.
North Korea's state media announced at the weekend that the launch of the rocket carrying what it called a scientific satellite may have to be delayed without disclosing the reasons.
"We plan to be fully prepared and vigilant for whatever may happen," Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.
"Regardless of when, the launch that North Korea is planning is against U.N. resolutions. The Japanese government will continue to work towards making them cease their activities and is taking all measures to prepare for any and all situations that may arise," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.
Japan has deployed Aegis cruisers and PAC3 intercepters both in Japan's southern islands and in the capital of Tokyo to shoot down any debris that may fall on Japanese territory.
"More important than the time period of when we will be on alert until, first we have to look into gathering all the necessary information and working with relevant cabinet members to take appropriate measures. Now is not the point to guess what they may or may not be doing," Fujimura added.
A trailer carrying a new third stage rocket was seen by satellite on Saturday (December 8) being moved from a missile plant in Pyongyang to the Tongchang-ri missile launch site, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted a government source as saying.
The planned launch has been condemned by South Korea, Japan and the United States, all of which call it a disguised test of a long-range missile being developed to carry nuclear arsenal.
An earlier launch in April failed minutes after blast off which the North admitted in a rare admission of a embarrassing failure.
North Korea has said it would launch a rocket to put a working satellite into space between Dec. 10 and 22 from its test ground located in the western region near its border with China.
North Korea is banned from carrying out any missile or nuclear related activities by U.N. resolutions imposed in 2006 and 2009 after conducting nuclear and missile tests.
Pyongyang says it has a right to develop a space programme.
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