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Japan: North Korea says will launch military satellite next week

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the country's National Aerospace Development Administration after recent satellite system tests, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on March 10, 2022. (via Reuters)

Japan says North Korea has informed it of a plan to launch a military satellite next week, adding it believes Pyongyang may be planning to launch a ballistic missile.

The rocket launch is to take place between May 31 and June 11, a Japanese Coast Guard official said on Monday, adding that it will then fall somewhere in waters near the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and east of Luzon Island in the Philippines.

The new development came after North Korea conducted a series of missile and weapons tests in recent months, including a new, solid-fuel
intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The Japanese prime minister's office said in a tweet that Fumio Kishida has issued instructions "on North Korea's notification about the launch of a ballistic missile that it describes as a satellite."

The tweet added that Kishida has told officials to gather intelligence, remain vigilant and closely coordinate with allies, including the United States and South Korea, on the matter.

Japan's Defense Ministry, for its part, said it has issued an order for the Air Self-Defense Force to destroy any ballistic missile confirmed to be on course to fall into the country's territory.

The ministry added that the country's forces would be authorized to use Standard Missile SM-3 and Patriot Missile PAC-3 to shoot down a projectile in mid-air.

Last month, North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, ordered the launch of the country’s first military reconnaissance satellite as a deterrent measure against persisting US-led war games near its waters, which Pyongyang views as rehearsals for invasion of its territory.

Kim said one of the objectives of developing the country's satellite industry is to gain the capability to "use preemptive military force when the situation demands."

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