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Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 13:33

Japan on alert for possible DPRK missile launch

By Agencies

Japan on alert for possible DPRK missile launch
Musudan-class missiles are displayed during a military parade in honour of the 100th birthday of the late DPRK leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2012. (AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones)
TOKYO - Japan's military is on alert for a possible Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) missile launch, a government source said on Tuesday, with media reporting its navy and anti-missile Patriot batteries have been told to shoot down any projectile heading for Japan.

DPRK appears to have moved an intermediate-range missile to its east coast, but there are no signs of an imminent launch, the Republic of Korea's (ROK) Yonhap news reported, citing an unnamed government source. ROK's defense ministry did not have an immediate comment.

Tension in the region has been high since DPRK conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and followed that with a satellite launch and test launches of various missiles, including one in May.

The Japanese government source said there were signs DPRK might be preparing a launch of the intermediate-range Musudan missile, the same missile it attempted to launch in May, prompting the order for the military to go on alert.

The May launch, which took place a day after Japan put its military on alert, failed.

DPRK has failed in all four of its attempts to launch the Musudan, which theoretically has the range to reach any part of Japan and the US territory of Guam.

Japan has put its anti-ballistic missile forces on alert several times this year after detecting signs of launches by DPRK.

DPRK is believed to have up to 30 Musudan missiles, according to ROK media, which officials said were first deployed in around 2007, although DPRK had never attempted to test-fire them until this year.

The United Nations Security Council in March imposed tightened sanctions against DPRK over its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

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