Japan on alert for possible N. Korea ballistic missile launch

TOKYO, June 21 (KUNA) — Japan pays a close attention to North Korea’s possible launch of mid-range ballistic missiles, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said Tuesday. “North Korea has been making an effort for the successful launch of a Musudan missile. We cannot rule out a probability of North Korea firing the missile,” Nakatani told reporters.
“Japan closely monitor North Korea’s moves with grave concern,” the minister added.
His remarks came amid signs that North Korea is preparing to launch a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile.
Earlier in the day, Nakatani issued an order for the Self-Defense Forces to intercept any incoming projectile from North Korea.
Following the order, the Defense Ministry deployed ground-to-air Patriot Advanced Capability-3 launchers at the ministry’s headquarters to shoo down a missile fired by North Korea or its debris if they appear to be falling on the Japanese territory.
The ministry also sent Aegis destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptor systems in waters around Japan.
The Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday that Pyongyang appears to be preparing to launch a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile from the east coast.
The Musudan ballistic missile is believed to be capable of reaching the US territory of Guam. North Korea launched a Musudan mid-range ballistic missile on May 31 in violation of UN resolutions, but the launch ended in failure. (end) mk.ibi