Wary of signs that North Korea is preparing a missile launch, Japan's government on Jan. 28 ordered the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to be ready to shoot down any incoming missiles, a government source has disclosed.
The government does not publically announce missile intercept orders.
The SDF is able to launch anti-ballistic missiles from Aegis-equipped vessels or land-based PAC-3 Patriot missiles to intercept ballistic missiles. However, as of noon on Jan. 29 there appeared to have been no order to deploy PAC-3 missiles.
In a news conference after a Cabinet meeting on Jan. 29, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said, "Following analysis, we cannot deny that North Korea may make some kind of provocative move, such as the unannounced launch of a ballistic missile. We will collect and analyze information, and closely work with the United States military and other relevant bodies to be completely prepared."
Regarding the government's policy of not announcing that it has ordered the SDF to shoot down any incoming missiles, Nakatani said, "Revealing our plans could hinder them in some cases. We've made preparations to respond to any situation, without giving away our plans. Due to the nature of this issue, we will not disclose everything."