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Japan on high alert as North Korea announces spy satellite launch

Following North Korea’s announcement of a planned satellite launch, Japan has activated its ballistic missile defenses and pledged to intercept and destroy any projectile that poses a threat to its
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Japan on high alert as North Korea announces spy satellite launch

Following North Korea’s announcement of a planned satellite launch, Japan has activated its ballistic missile defenses and pledged to intercept and destroy any projectile that poses a threat to its territory.

According to the notification from North Korea, the launch is scheduled to occur between May 31 and June 11. The secretive nation claims to have completed its first military spy satellite, and leader Kim Jong Un has given approval for the final preparations. This action represents the latest in a series of missile launches and weapons tests by North Korea, including the recent testing of a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile.

The Japanese defense ministry expects the rocket carrying the satellite to follow a trajectory over the country’s southwestern island chain, similar to the 2016 launch. Analysts believe that this new satellite is part of North Korea’s ongoing efforts to enhance its surveillance technology capabilities, including the use of drones, to improve its ability to strike targets during wartime.

In response to the potential threat, Japan’s defense ministry issued a statement asserting that they will take decisive action against any confirmed ballistic or other missiles that enter their territory. The country’s defense systems, such as the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) and Patriot Missile PAC-3, will be deployed to intercept and destroy any incoming North Korean missiles.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned North Korea’s planned launch, highlighting that it would be a severe violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that condemn North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities.

Through its official Twitter account, Kishida’s office strongly urged North Korea to refrain from proceeding with the launch and stated that Japan would cooperate with the United States, South Korea, and other countries to gather and analyze information related to the launch.

The United States also responded, with a State Department spokesperson affirming that any North Korean launch involving ballistic missile technology, even for satellite purposes, would violate multiple UN resolutions. The spokesperson called on North Korea to cease further unlawful activities and encouraged the country to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy.

South Korea joined the international call, describing North Korea’s plan as “illegal” and warning that there would be consequences if it proceeds. The three countries—South Korea, Japan, and the United States—held a three-way telephone call to discuss coordinating a united response to North Korea’s actions.

Despite the concerns and appeals from Japan and South Korea, analysts believe that there is limited leverage remaining to dissuade North Korea from proceeding with the launch. North Korean state media has already criticized the plans of Japan, South Korea, and the United States to share real-time data on missile launches, portraying these efforts as “sinister measures” aimed at tightening military cooperation.

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