Japan Vows to Intercept North Korea Missiles

But relations between the two nations might be better than you think
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2014 11:35 AM CDT
File photo of the Japanese destroyer Kirishima. It is patrolling the Sea of Japan, poised to intercept any missile from North Korea.   (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa)

(Newser) – In case North Korea gets ideas to fire any more missiles, Japan is promising to shoot down any that have a chance of coming down in Japanese territory, reports Reuters. To do so, the defense ministry has deployed a destroyer in the Sea of Japan. The order runs through April 25, which marks the 82nd anniversary of the founding of the North's army. Reuters notes that the move comes in the midst of rising tensions between the North and its neighbors, although the Asahi Shimbun of Japan adds some context suggesting that Tokyo's response is deliberately low-key.

For one thing, this is the fifth such interception order issued by Japan since 2009. And it's a lesser response than one last year, when Japan ordered two destroyers on patrol and deployed Patriot missile batteries in Tokyo. The reason for the quieter approach is that Tokyo and Pyongyang are making progress in one-on-one talks of their own, says the newspaper. Japan avoided a public announcement of the latest moves so as “not to stir up public anxiety and give strong consideration to the diplomatic relations," says a government official.

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