Japan has put its military on high alert over what is said to be signs of another attempt by North Korea to launch a missile from its east coast.
The Japanese military ordered its naval destroyers and anti-ballistic missile Patriot batteries to be prepared for targeting and destroying any projectile heading from the North towards Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.
This came after Japanese media quoted unnamed sources as saying that signs have been detected of a possible missile launch by the North.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency also cited an unnamed government source as saying that the North appears to have moved an intermediate-range missile to its east coast.
The report, however, said there are no signs of an imminent launch.
According to the source, the missile is presumed to be a Musudan, which has the range to reach any part of Japan and the US territory of Guam in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
Seoul claimed the North had attempted four test launches of the missile back in April and May, all of which failed.
North Korea has vowed to develop a nuclear arsenal in an effort to protect itself from the US military, which occasionally deploys nuclear-powered warships and aircraft capable of carrying atomic weapons in the region.
The country conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and carried out the launch of a long-range rocket in February, which it said was aimed at placing an earth observation satellite into orbit.
Washington and Seoul described the practice as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.
Pyongyang, which is under harsh UN sanctions over its nuclear tests and missiles launches, says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
Washington holds joint military maneuvers with Seoul, which Pyongyang views as preparations for war and a direct threat against its security.