Japan Readies To Shoot Down North Korean Rocket — Tokyo Says Upcoming ‘Satellite’ Launch Is Cover For Ballistic Missile

Japan Readies To Shoot Down North Korean Rocket — Tokyo Says Upcoming ‘Satellite’ Launch Is Cover For Ballistic Missile

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     The Doha-based, Arab publication, al Jazeera, is reporting this morning (Feb. 3, 2016) that Japan is preparing to “shoot down any missiles, or rockets fired over its territory, after North Korea announced plans to launch a satellite in the coming days.  “Today (Wednesday), [Japan’s] Defense Minister issued an order” to destroy any projectiles if “confirmed that it will fall on Japanese territory.”  As has been previously reported, in numerous publications, North Korea announced on Tuesday, and informed international organizations of its plans to launch an Earth observation satellite on a rocket between February 8-Feb. 25.  Al Jazeera previously reported that Japan’s “defense systems were being mobilized for the North’s launch, noting Aegis-equipped destroyers were set to sea [in response to North Korea’s announcement], off Japan’s west coast.”

     South Korea has also publicly stated that Pyongyang “will pay a “severe price” if it goes ahead with what the international community sees as a long-range missile test.”  “We warn that if North Korea proceeds with a long-range rocket launch, the international society that the North pays searing consequence…as it would constitute a grave threat to the Korean peninsula, the region, and the world,” South Korean official Cho Tae-yong said in televised remarks.

     How much of this kind of rhetoric coming out of Tokyo is really true; and, how much is deterrent – talking tough and putting it’s military on alert in the hopes of deterring North Korea – is anyone’s guess.  The U.S. is no longer considered the reliable defense ally it once was, not just by Japan – but globally.  Tokyo sees a much more militaristic doctrine coming from China; and, it watching with alarm as North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

     Obviously, this is a situation that bears watching; and, raises the potential of miscalculation and the law of unintended consequences.  V/R, RCP

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