Japan on guard for possible North Korean military satellite launch

Japan's Defense Minister Kihara Minoru has indicated that the government will gather intelligence and stay on alert to prepare for a possible launch of a North Korean military spy satellite.

Kihara told reporters on Monday that North Korea expressed its intention to launch a satellite for the third time, following two failed attempts in May and August.

He said there is a possibility that Pyongyang will go ahead with the launch.

He also said the Defense Ministry has kept intact an order issued in May for the Self-Defense Forces to destroy any incoming missiles or other projectiles that could fall within Japanese territory.

Kihara added that SDF vessels equipped with Aegis radar systems and the land-based PAC-3 interceptor systems have been ready in case that happens.

South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said in an interview with public broadcaster KBS on Sunday that the launch could occur within a week or before November 30 at the latest.