Japan has begun deploying a surface-to-air missile defence system and placed its armed forces on standby in response to North Korea’s decision to launch a long-range rocket, later this month.
A Japanese naval vessel is en-route to Okinawa with an advanced Patriot defence system onboard.
It is believed the North Korean rocket will pass over the Okinawa island chain.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, wants an international response to the perceived threat. He said: “We will work closely and discuss with the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and other relevant countries, and strongly call on North Korea to refrain from the planned launch.”
North Korea said it will launch the rocket between December 10 and 22 to put a satellite into orbit.
Pyongyang’s previous attempt to launch a satellite ended in failure after it exploded shortly after lift off.
The test is to mark the first anniversary of the death of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong iL.