Moments ago Japan's Kyodo reported that the upcoming North Korean missile launch has entered a "full-fledged state of action." While not immediately clear what this means, it is not all that surprising: after all this is precisely what Un has said he would do, and so he will. What is more important is that according to VOA Japan is now actively preparing for "countermeasures" and is "preparing for contingencies" should the missile veer off course. Because if Fukushima taught us something is that gusts of wind around Japan always somehow point toward Tokyo. To wit: "The Japanese parliament has approved a resolution condemning North Korea's planned missile launch, and the country is also preparing contingencies should the missile veer off course and pose a threat to Japan. Speaking in Tokyo Friday, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said the Japanese military will be prepared for any eventuality. Tanaka says he is ordering officials to prepare deployment of PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles and Aegis destroyers carrying a state-of-the-art anti-missile system that could attempt to shoot down the rocket." Of course, by the time the shooting is over, ES will be at least limit up: consider the upside GDP potential resulting from rebuilding the world in the aftermath of armageddon.
Pyongyang says it will place an earth observation satellite into a polar orbit in mid-April to honor the 100th birth anniversary of its late founder and perennial president, Kim Il Sung.
Members of the international community say the launch is a pretext for a long-range missile test, which North Korea is forbidden from conducting under U.N. sanctions.
South Korean and Japanese diplomats met in Seoul to share their responses to the upcoming launch. Japan's nuclear envoy, Shinsuke Sugiyama, says Tokyo and Seoul are also in contact with other capitals.
"We agreed we should keep coordinating our positions and comparing notes between ROK [South Korea] and Japan, and also including those in Washington, and of course we should be ready to talk to the Chinese, which I will do, and Russians too as a member of the six-party talks," said Sugiyama.
The six-party talks were intended to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear programs. But in 2009 Pyongyang announced it would “never again” participate after the U.N. Security Council moved to condemn North Korea for a failed launch that year.
North Korea also claimed that was a satellite launch, but observers reported the missile ended up falling into the Pacific Ocean.
Aerospace industry sources say Japan's response to next month's North Korea launch is a political gesture. But it would provide a rare opportunity for the Japanese to train its personnel to track a missile from a potentially hostile source.
Japan is the only country, except for the United States, with the ship-based SM-3 Block 1-a missiles, part of the sophisticated Aegis weapons system. Those missiles have a range of 500 kilometers and can fly above the atmosphere to destroy ballistic missiles.
Assuming the above is even one step above the traditional rhetorical jawboning, cue Jeff Saut to tell us how the resulting 100% correction will be healthy for risk appetites.