(From Reuters)

Japan placed its military on alert on Wednesday to shoot down a North Korean rocket if it threatens Japan, while South Korea warned the North will pay a “severe price” if it proceeds with a satellite launch that Seoul considers a missile test.

Japan’s Defense Minister Gen Nakatani

North Korea should immediately call off the planned launch, which is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the South’s presidential Blue House said in a statement.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would work with the United States and others to “strongly demand” that North Korea refrain from what he described as a planned missile launch.

Japan’s Defense Minister Gen Nakatani ordered ballistic missile defense units including Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan and Patriot missile batteries onshore to be ready to shoot down any North Korean rocket that threatened Japan.

The rocket is likely to fly over Japan’s southern island of Okinawa in the Pacific Ocean at an altitude of several hundred kilometers.

Reports of the planned launch drew fresh U.S. calls for tougher U.N. sanctions that are already under discussion in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test. Read More

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