News / Asia

    Japan Marshals Defense for Expected N. Korean Launch

    VOA News
    Japan is deploying its missile defense system in anticipation of North Korea's planned rocket launch, which could occur as early as Monday.
     
    Japanese television showed three Aegis destroyers armed with SM-3 missile interceptors reportedly headed for the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan on Thursday.
     
    Patriot missile interceptors later arrived at Okinawa island, which lies under the missile's projected flight path. Patriot missiles were also rolled into the field behind the defense ministry in Tokyo.
     
    Japan has threatened to shoot down the North Korean missile if it goes off course. It is the same stance the government took last year before Pyongyang's failed rocket launch.
     
    Japan's Missile Defenses

    Standard Missile 3 Interceptors
    • Ship launched missile
    • Used against short and intermediate range ballistic missiles
    • Cost per missile is $6 million to $9 million

    Patriot Missile Interceptors
    • Launched from land-based mobile launchers
    • Used against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft
    • Cost per missile is $3.5 million
    Michael Cucek, a research associate at the MIT Center for International Studies in Tokyo, says many Japanese are keeping an eye on the developments.
     
    "If you watch television, you get this sense that the people, particularly in Okinawa prefecture, are concerned because the path of the missile will come close to them," he said. "Otherwise, it's a nice sunny day here in Tokyo, [and] people aren't concerned about it."

    Pyongyang says it plans to launch the three-stage rocket sometime between December 10 and 22. It says the launch is aimed at placing a satellite into orbit.
     
    Its neighbors and much of the rest of the world have warned against the launch, saying it is a disguised missile test banned under U.N. sanctions.
     
    Lieutenant General Salvatore Angelella, commander of U.S. forces in Japan, said Thursday that U.S. troops are closely monitoring the situation, which he called "very dangerous."
     
    "This is against the U.N. Security Council resolutions and we are monitoring the situation closely and working with the [Japanese] Self-Defense Force and the Ministry of Defense," he said.
     
    On Wednesday, the U.S., Japanese and South Korean diplomats meeting in Washington agreed to take any North Korean launch to the U.N. Security Council for review.
     
    The Security Council condemned a failed North Korean launch in April, during which the rocket disintegrated shortly after take-off.
     
    Brad Glosserman of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is conducting another launch in an attempt to bolster his political credentials. But he says the move comes with some risk for the new leader.
     
    "You'd be hard-pressed to have a more distinguished failure," he said. "And in fact, two failures in one year would be a pretty poor start to this new administration. You would think that given their [past] failures that he's aware that the stakes have been raised and that he needs a successful launch."
     
    Professor Moon Chung-in of Yonsei University describes also describes it as a calculated political risk planned to coincide with key elections in Japan on December 16th and here in South Korea on the 19th.
     
    “If North Korea is successful in putting the satellite into orbit, that will give [Pyongyang] a kind of scientific victory ... that will boost the political legitimacy of the North Korean leader," he said
     
    Although Pyongyang certainly would like to see the conservatives in both countries fare poorly, a North Korean launch — succesful or otherwise — will factor in South Korea's election-season rhetoric.
     
    “[The technology] can be turned into long-range ballistic-missile technology that can be a threat to South Korea, Northeast Asia and even to the United States," said Moon. "That being the case, that can hurt the [South Korean] candidate from the opposition party who has been favoring engagement with North Korea. But, overall, I would argue that the satellite launch by North Korea will help the candidate from the ruling [Saenuri] party.” 
     
    Attempted North Korean rocket launches ended in failure in both 2006 and 2009, although North Korea insisted on their success.
     
    Despite international pressure, North Korea is apparently going ahead with preparations for the latest launch. It is reportedly in the final stages of preparing the Tongchang-ri launch site in the northwest of the country.

    VOA correspondent Steve Herman contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    December 07, 2012 7:17 AM
    Yes, I agree North Korean rocket launch disguising missile would fail again because of its poor quality. And I cannot help admitting that Japanese patriot would also fail in intersepting missils because Japanese defence force is not trainned in actual fightings. Both launces of missiles look like playing soldiers.

    by: NVO from: USA
    December 06, 2012 11:44 AM
    The North Koreans so called technology is lame. The launch will be a failure, and equivelent to a rocket launch by Wiley Coyote whom purchased a rocket from Acme. SHAM!!!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.