On Monday, North Korea informed neighboring Japan that it plans to launch a satellite into low Earth orbit in the coming days, which might be Pyongyang's first spy satellite.
Reuters said Japan had placed missile defense systems on heightened alert and warned it would shoot down any projectile over its airspace.
"We will take destructive measures against ballistic and other missiles that are confirmed to land in our territory," Japan's defense ministry said in a statement, adding it would use Standard Missile-3 or Patriot Missile to destroy the rocket. We detailed last month Japan was preparing for this.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told his cabinet to collect intel on North Korea's planned rocket launch. He said Japan is already talking with relevant countries to deter its northern neighbor from conducting the launch:
"For North Korea to go ahead with a ballistic missile launch that it is calling a 'satellite' is a serious provocation against our country's national security.
"Any launch using ballistic missile technology breaches related UN Security Council resolutions," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.
AP News pointed out, "North Korea would have to use long-range missile technology banned by UN Security Council resolutions" to catapult a satellite into space. The media outlet said, "Its past launches of Earth observation satellites were seen as disguised missile tests."
Just weeks ago, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected a spy satellite at a defense facility in his country. Monday's launch notice did not provide details about the satellite's specifics.
Meanwhile, South Korea launched its first commercial-grade satellite into space last week. Experts told the AP, "Kim would want his country to launch a spy satellite before South Korea does."
Reuters said North Korea has attempted to launch "earth observation" satellites, though every attempt has failed. The latest attempt was in 2016.
In the last 1.5 years, North Korea has ramped up missile launches, testing over 100, some of which can carry nuclear weapons to South Korea, Japan, and the mainland US.
And last week, a US Defense Department told Congress that the Pentagon plans to build a multi-layered air defense system in Guam to keep tabs on North Korea and China.