Japan is bracing for what North Korea says will be another attempt to put a satellite into orbit. Japan's Coast Guard says it has received notice of a launch planned sometime between November 22nd and the 30th.
The projectile is expected to fall within one of three areas. Two are in the Yellow Sea southwest of North Korea. A third is located in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines. All are outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone. The Coast Guard is urging vessels in these waters to be on the alert for falling objects.
Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says the government will coordinate with the US, South Korea, and other countries. "Even if the objective is to put a satellite into orbit, a launch using ballistic missile technology violates UN Security Council resolutions. Such an act could put the people of Japan in grave danger," he said.
Japanese officials say the projectile could fly over Okinawa Prefecture.
The Self-Defense Forces say they're poised to destroy any projectiles that could fall within Japan's territory. SDF vessels are on round-the-clock alert in the East China Sea and in waters near Japan. They're equipped with radar and weapon systems able to track and intercept ballistic missiles.
Land-based PAC-3 interceptor systems have also been deployed in the city of Naha, and several islands in Okinawa. The Ground Self-Defense Force have also deployed units to respond if people are injured by a falling missile or debris.
This will be North Korea's third attempt at putting a so-called satellite into orbit, after failed tries in May and August. Pyongyang previously indicated it would carry out a launch in October, but that never happened.
Japan's Coast Guard warns past launches have happened early when North Korea has provided a time frame, so people should stay on alert.