Japan Deploys Anti-Missile Systems over North Korea Rocket Launch

December 8, 2012, Saturday // 09:52

Japan has deployed anti-missile defense systems in anticipation of an imminent North Korean rocket launch, Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto announced on Saturday.

He made it clear that Tokyo dispatched four MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air (SAM) missiles to Japan's southern border, while another three were placed near the capital, as cited by international media.

The systems are aimed at blasting away possible rocket debris, or otherwise warding off any other threat to Japanese territory.

North Korea has stirred international outrage after it announced on December 1 it would attempt another rocket launch, the country's second this year.

While North Korean authorities have claimed the rocket will attempt to send a satellite into outer space, the international community has condemned what it believes to be the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program meant to ferry nuclear warheads.

North Korean technicians have already mounted the rocket on its launch pad. The launch window will remain open until December 22, according to South Korean media.

A previous attempted launch of a North Korean rocket last April ended in failure after the rocket exploded shortly after lift-off.

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