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Japan orders military to shoot down North Korean satellite if necessary

A Type-12 surface-to-air missile fired by Japan's Special Defense Forces

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada has ordered the military to prepare to shoot down a North Korean satellite should it fall within Japan's territory after Pyongyang said this week it was ready to launch its first military spy satellite.

"There is a possibility of ordering destructive measures against ballistic missiles and others," Hamada told the country’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF), according to a statement from the country's defense mnistry.

The SDF has been put on alert for any debris from the rocket falling into Japanese territory.

The Japanese military will deploy ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles and Aegis-equipped destroyer warships carrying sea-based Standard Missile-3 interceptor projectiles, the statement read.

The decision came after North Korea's state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday that the country's leader Kim Jong-un had ordered officials to prepare to launch the country’s first military observation satellite.

No country has ever attempted to shoot down a North Korean rocket or ballistic missile.

A week ago, Pyongyang said it had successfully tested a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, calling it as a breakthrough for the country’s nuclear counterattack capabilities.

Previously in March, Kim Yo Jong, the North Korean leader’s sister, warned that any move by the US or others to shoot down one of its “strategic weapons” over international waters would be regarded as “a clear declaration of war.”

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