Japan to Military: Get Ready for North Korea Missile Launch South Korea also says launch prep appears to be underway By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted May 30, 2016 9:04 AM CDT 30 comments Comments People walk past a TV news in Osaka, western Japan, showing a North Korean state television news on the country's nuclear test Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) (Newser) – Japan's military is on alert as of Monday that North Korea may be preparing to launch ballistic missiles, officials tell Reuters. South Korea officials also say launch preparations appear to be underway. Since North Korea conducted a fourth nuclear test in January, followed by launching a satellite and test-launching missiles, tensions have been increased in the region. In preparation for a possible launch, Japan has ordered naval destroyers and anti-ballistic missile Patriot batteries to be at the ready to shoot down missiles if necessary; the missile tubes of one Patriot battery at the country's ministry of defense were elevated to firing position. This is at least the third time this year Japan has been on alert for a possible missile launch from North Korea.