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Japan ready for North Korean challenge

Japan on Friday ordered its military to prepare to intercept any dangerous debris that might fall on its territory if a rocket launch planned by North Korea goes wrong.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2009 00:22 IST

Japan on Friday ordered its military to prepare to intercept any dangerous debris that might fall on its territory if a rocket launch planned by North Korea goes wrong.

Pyongyang has said it will launch a communications satellite between April 4-8, but regional powers believe the real purpose is to test a long-range missile, the Taepodong-2, which is already on its launch pad at a North Korean missile base.

“I have issued an order ... to prepare to destroy any object that might fall on Japan as a result of an accident involving a flying object from North Korea,” Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said.

North Korea has given international agencies notice that the rocket’s planned trajectory should take it over Japan, dropping booster stages to its east and west. It has said any attempt to shoot it down itself would be an act of war.