North Korea has moved a missile launcher into firing position, putting the Japanese government on high alert.
The aggressive move has prompted Tokyo to begin gathering information amid a prevailing sense of tension, Kyodo reported. There is fear that North Korea could soon launch ballistic missiles toward Japan, prompting the island nation to take precautions to protect its capital city.
Several Patriot Advance Capability-3 missile interceptors have reportedly been deployed in Japan over the last few days to put up a defense around military units.
The Japanese government has also reportedly authorized forces to shoot down any missiles fired from North Korea.
With North Korea moving missile launchers into firing position, it indicates that threats emanating from the country county could have some backing. South Korean and US forces in the region are on the highest alert status outside of a state of war.
Meanwhile, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the North Korean government is getting ready to launch some short-range missiles.
“There are clear signs that the North could simultaneously fire off Musudan, Scud and Nodong missiles,” an anonymous military source said Wednesday.
The region is already tense amid reports that North Korea is preparing to conduct a fourth nuclear test. After a flurry of activity at North Korea’s main nuclear site late last week, South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae warned that another test appeared imminent.
“We are closely monitoring the ongoing situation, which is very similar to the situation ahead of the third nuclear test,” an anonymous source told newspaper JoongAng Ilbo. “We are trying to figure out whether it is a genuine preparation for a nuclear test or just a ploy to heap more pressure on us and the US.”
North Korea has also prevented South Koreans from accessing a jointly run industrial complex in the North, and an emergency military hotline between Seoul and Pyongyang has been shut down as well.