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Japan on high alert against DPRK rocket launch

(Xinhua)

08:47, April 12, 2012

TOKOY, April 12 (Xinhua) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda arrived his office before 7 o'clock, one hour earlier than usual on Thursday morning to make sure the government is on full alert against Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s satellite launch.

"We would like to call (on DPRK) for restraint until the very end, but we are fully prepared to deal with any contingency," the prime minister told reporters as he arrived for talks with the task force set up on Wednesday for DPRK's rocket launch.

The DPRK announced last month that it would launch an "earth observation" satellite between April 12 and 16 with liftoff taking place between 7 a.m. and noon. The launch has raised strong fears and unease in Japan.

Some believe that the rocket will be launched on the first day of the five-day period as DPRK's official said that workers had put the satellite on the rocket and fuel was being injected on Wednesday.

According to local media, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka told reporters that the ministry and Self-Defense Forces will stay on their guard and prepare for any contingency.

Japan's Self-Defense Force had installed ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors on Okinawa, Ishigaki and Miyako islands and in Tokyo. Furthermore, three Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers are on their way to the East China Sea, according to the ministry.

The Japanese government has been saying the rocket will "not normally fall within" Japan's territory, but preparations are being made just in case the rocket veers off from its planned trajectory.

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