May 30, 2023
TOKYO – Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada on Monday ordered the Self-Defense Forces to prepare to destroy a North Korean missile in case it falls within Japan’s territory.
The order, effective through June 11, was issued after North Korea notified Japan of its launch plans.
At a hastily convened press conference on Monday morning, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno referred to the possibility that the rocket could pass over Japan’s territory, including the Nansei Islands that span Kyushu and Okinawa Prefecture.
Matsuno condemned North Korea’s planned launch, calling it a “serious provocation.”
The SDF are expected to respond to the situation by mobilizing Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) units deployed in the Miyako, Ishigaki and Yonaguni islands in Okinawa Prefecture, as well as deploying an Aegis destroyer equipped with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor missiles to the East China Sea.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday morning, “A launch using ballistic missile technology is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a serious matter concerning the safety of the people.”
Earlier, Kishida instructed relevant ministries and agencies to work together and make every effort to collect and analyze information, in order to keep the public informed in an appropriate manner. He said Japan, in coordination with the United States, South Korea and other countries, will strongly urge North Korea to exercise restraint and refrain from firing the missile.
The prime minister also instructed relevant entities to take all possible measures to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.