Theodore's World: Japan Prepares for North Korea Missile Launch

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March 31, 2009

Japan Prepares for North Korea Missile Launch

Japan Prepares for North Korea Missile Launch

For First Time, Tokyo Says It Will Deploy Missile Interceptors Against Rocket or Debris From Pyongyang's Planned Launch

The Wall Street Journal


Japan's move Friday to deploy missile interceptors is the boldest challenge North Korea faces so far to its plan to launch a rocket in the next few days.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said he ordered the deployment of missile interceptors to Japan's northern coast to prepare to shoot down the rocket and any debris that could fall on Japanese territory. It was the first such order Japan had issued, a ministry spokesman said.

North Korea said it will launch a rocket carrying a satellite between April 4 and April 8, and warned that fragments could fall into the Sea of Japan between the two countries as well as southeast of Japan in the Pacific Ocean.

Japan and its allies suspect the rocket is a new long-range missile, and have demanded that Pyongyang cancel the plan. A launch would violate United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed in 2006 after North Korea tested a long-range missile.

Any action Japan takes would be restricted to shooting at material that threatens to fall on Japanese land or sea. Nevertheless, the move is a bold one for Japan, which has a pacifist constitution that strictly restricts its military to measures of national defense.

Japan is particularly worried about North Korea because of its proximity to the rogue nation. After Pyongyang's launches in recent years, Tokyo imposed sanctions on North Korea and pushed the U.N. Security Council to enact further sanctions. At the time, Japan didn't have the missile-defense capabilities it has today.

Analysts say that by warning that it will intercept a rocket or debris, Japan is walking a fine diplomatic line between cautious preparation at home and tough talk to put North Korea on notice -- without antagonizing the country.

In recent years, Tokyo has expanded its military role. It has sent noncombat troops to Iraq and has a refueling mission in the Indian Ocean that supports U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The U.S., which Japan relies on for its defense, has to proceed cautiously. U.S. diplomats are now dealing with North Korea's arrest of two U.S. journalists on the North Korea-China border on March 17.

The U.S. has been leaning against trying to shoot down the North's projectile and a senior U.S. official this week said the administration has ruled it out.

Wild Thing's comment..........

We may not scare N. Korea ( with Obama as President) , but I bet Japan does, or at least I bet they take Japan more seriously then they take us.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at March 31, 2009 05:45 AM


Let's hope Japan shoots it down as soon as it appears to be going over territorial Japan because it is extremely likely Obama won't.

Posted by: Bob A at March 31, 2009 06:53 AM

I know that's right--he'll just sit there and say we somehow deserved it. Same when we get attacked again--that we provoked it, caused it, made them do it. We're always the bad guys.
I do hope Japan does something about it. At least someone has guts out there still.

Posted by: Lynn at March 31, 2009 08:21 AM

If this missle launches successfully and is not sot down, get ready. It will be the Jimmy Carter era all over again. America will be tested by every tin horn dictator and wannabe. I don't know what the big events will be. Maybe another embassy takeover/hostage situation like Iran.

Even if Japan shoots this missle down, American resolve will be questioned.

Posted by: TomR at March 31, 2009 12:09 PM