Tokyo, Mar 27: Japan has ordered its military to destroy any part of the rocket that North Korea is planning to fire early next month should it approach Japanese territory.
A meeting of the Security Council of Japan approved the decision out of concern that debris from the missile - which Pyongyang claims is a launch vehicle for a satellite - could land on northern Japan, report The Telegraph.
"I issued the necessary order to the Self-Defence Forces ... to prepare for an event in which a North Korean projectile falls onto our country in an accident," the paper quoted Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada, as saying.
"It is important to deal with and eliminate the North Korean projectile should it threaten the safety and security of the people by entering our airspace or falling into our waters or soil," he added.
As a precaution, Patriot surface-to-air missiles are being deployed in coastal regions of Akita and Iwate prefectures, north of Tokyo, while two Maritime Self-Defence Force destroyers are expected to put to sea from the naval base at Sasebo, near Nagasaki, in the near future and take up station in the Sea of Japan.
North Korea has stated that it has the right to launch the experimental communications satellite and that it will consider any attempt to intercept the rocket as a hostile act.
It has also threatened to withdraw from the six-party talks on eliminating nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and, on Thursday, warned that it is considering resuming its atomic weapons programme.
Pyongyang says the launch has been set for some time between April 4 and 8.