Japan Reduces Alert Level for North Korean Ballistic Missile Launches - Reports

© AP Photo / Ahn Young-joonA man watches a TV news program showing a file image of a missile being test-launched by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. (File)
A man watches a TV news program showing a file image of a missile being test-launched by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. (File) - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Japan has lowered its alert level for North Korean ballistic missile launches amid the easing of tensions that resulted from the landmark June 12 summit between the US and North Korean leaders, the Kyodo news agency reported Monday, citing government sources.

The decision means that the Maritime Self-Defense Forces' (SDF) Aegis-equipped destroyers will not remain on alert around-the-clock in the Sea of Japan, but the vessels will stand ready to intercept North Korean missiles within a 24-hour notice, the media said.

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The Japanese authorities will, nevertheless, keep the order issued to the Self-Defense Forces in 2016 to shoot down any missile heading toward the country's territory in force, according to the sources.

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The SDF will also continue to station Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile interceptors in western and northern Japan, but units in charge of the PAC-3 will be allowed more flexibility in anti-missile operations, the sources added.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula has significantly improved within the last several months, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having held two rounds of talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a top-level summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

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