Japan has ordered one of its destroyers to shoot down any ballistic missile launched in its direction by North Korea.
Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reports Japan's defense minister quietly issued the order to intercept on Thursday.
This, over fears Pyongyang might launch a missile on the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Party on April 25. (Via ITN)
Traditionally, Japan and North Korea haven't had diplomatic relations. Arirang News suggests Japanese officials chose not to go public with the intercept order to avoid derailing high-level government talks between the two countries — the first in nearly a year and a half.
On the table as bargaining chips — possibly lifting sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for the potential release of 13 Japanese citizens Pyongyang admitted to abducting in the 1970s and 1980s. (Via CBS, CCTV)
This comes a couple weeks after North Korea tested two mid-range missiles over the Sea of Japan — prompting concerns it was readying for a fourth nuclear test. (Via Euronews)
The international backlash was swift, and in turn, Pyongyang threatened a "new form" of nuclear test. (Via The New York Times)
A North Korean official told reporters Friday the world would have to "wait and see" what his country meant by that. (Via Time)
This is Japan’s fifth interception order issued since 2009. All four previous orders were also directed at North Korea.