North Korea appears to have deployed a ballistic missile to its east coast, but there are no signs of an imminent launch, according to an unnamed government source.
Japan's military is on alert for a missile launch, and their navy and anti-missile Patriot batteries have been instructed to shoot down any projectile headed for Japan, according to a government source.
The missile is presumed to be an intermediate-range Musudan missile, similar to one the North unsuccessfully tried to test launch three times in April. Another launch, most likely of the Musudan, failed in May.
The missile reportedly has a range of 3,000-4,000 kilometers which, if fired successfully, could reach targets in Japan, China and Guam.
The United Nations Security Council has banned North Korea from developing nuclear and ballistic missile technology. China, the North's key ally, has urged the government of President Kim Jong Un to return to international talks and dismantle its nuclear program for economic assistance and security guarantees.
VOA's Steve Herman contributed to this report.