03:21 GMT +323 January 2020
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    Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) have implemented all readiness measures for a possible intercontinental ballistic missile launch by North Korea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – US media reported Tuesday that US satellites gathered data suggesting Pyongyang may launch a ballistic missile from a mobile platform, constituting its fifth nuclear test, as soon as Wednesday.

    "As to the SDF, of course we instructed them to be ready to address any situation, but we will not give any details what specifically they will do," Suga addressed a daily briefing.

    The Japanese Defense Ministry said in a February 3 statement it had issued orders to shoot down a North Korean missile that posed a threat to Japan’s security.

    "The Japanese government has to be ready to protect the people’s lives and security, and we will be fully ready to respond to any situation, which is critical. And we will engage in monitoring and surveillance," Suga stressed.

    The cabinet secretary reaffirmed that Tokyo was monitoring closely preparations for the North’s possible nuclear test and cooperating with the United States and South Korea. The sides are scheduled to meet in Seoul to address the North Korean nuclear program on April 19.

    Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated after Pyongyang successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test in early January and put a satellite into orbit a month later, violating UN Security Council resolutions and triggering condemnation from the international community.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was claimed to have directly supervised the successful test of a new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile over the weekend, a month after launching multiple short- and medium-range rockets.

    The next North Korean missile, as reported by the CNN broadcaster, is capable of striking either the US Pacific coast, the state of Alaska or the Pacific island of Guam.

    Topic:
    North Korea Rocket Launch Plans (76)

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    Tags:
    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), ballistic missile program, Japan's Defense Ministry, Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF), Japan
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