Japan On High Alert: North Korea's Satellite Launch Threatens Regional Peace

Written By BlabberBuzz | Monday, 29 May 2023 22:45
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North Korea has informed Japan of its plan to launch a satellite in the coming days, which could be an attempt to put its first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit.

Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada has ordered Japan's Self-Defense Force to shoot down the satellite or debris if any enters Japanese territory. The launch window is from May 31 to June 11, and the launch may affect waters in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and east of the Philippines' Luzon Island.

To launch a satellite into space, North Korea must use long-range missile technology banned by U.N. Security Council resolutions. Its past launches of Earth observation satellites were seen as disguised missile tests. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the launch would violate U.N. resolutions and was a "threat to the peace and safety of Japan, the region, and the international community."

South Korea warned North Korea would face consequences if it goes ahead with its launch plan in violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban the North from conducting any launch using ballistic technology.

Japan has already been on standby for falling missile debris from North Korean launches earlier this year and has deployed missile defense systems such as land-to-air PAC-3 and ship-to-air SM-3 interceptors in southwestern Japan and the East China Sea. Matsuno said it was possible the satellite would enter or pass above Japan's southwestern islands, including Okinawa, where the United States has major military bases and thousands of troops.


North Korea placed Earth observation satellites in orbit in 2012 and 2016. Pyongyang does not notify neighboring countries of its missile firings in advance but has issued notices before satellite launches. While North Korea has demonstrated an ability to deliver a satellite into space, there are questions about the satellite's capability. Foreign experts say the earlier satellites never transmitted imagery back to North Korea, and analysts say the new device displayed in state media appeared too small and crudely designed to support high-resolution imagery.

Spy satellites are among an array of high-tech weapons systems Kim has publicly vowed to develop. Other weapons systems on his wish list include solid-propellant ICBMs, nuclear-powered submarines, hypersonic missiles, and multi-warhead missiles. The North's satellite launch plan comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.