Japan mulls intercepting DPRK's rocket

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TOKYO. March 19. KAZINFORM Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said Monday he is mulling an order for the Self-Defense Forces to intercept a rocket that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) plans to launch next month if it passes through Japan's skies, local media reported.

Tanaka said the ministry would take thorough measures to protect Okinawa Prefecture and other parts of Japan if necessary, the public broadcaster NHK reported.

The ministry plans to deploy ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors or PAC 3, missile defense system and Aegis-equipped destroyers, according to NHK.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said on Monday that there is the possibility that the rocket would pass over areas in Okinawa Prefecture.

The DPRK announced last week it would launch an "earth observation" satellite, or the Kwangmyongsong-3, using a long- range rocket to mark the 100th birthday of late leader Kim Il-Sung.

The satellite would be launched from a station in North Phyongan province between April 12 and 16, the DPRK's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported, citing a spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology.

Source: Xinhua

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