Japan to indefinitely maintain missile interception order

Japan would maintain an order to intercept missiles for an indefinite period as safeguard against threats of further North Korean launches, the media reported on Friday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration is finalising the details to maintain the order, which is commonly issued when a missile has been launched or preparations for a launch were detected, Efe news reported.

According to NHK, if the order was retained, Japan may deploy its anti-missile surface-to-air Patriot Advanced Capability-3 system and its destroyers equipped with advanced Aegis radar system at all times.

The decision was prompted by successive ballistic missile tests by North Korea, which Japan considers a threat to its security.

The latest missile launch took place on Wednesday, when the Pyongyang regime fired a medium-range ballistic missile from its southwestern coast that fell into the Sea of Japan and a second one that exploded in air after takeoff.

Japanese Defence Ministry estimated the missile fell into the water 250 km off the coast of Akita prefecture, which is part of its exclusive economic zone.

This is the first case of a North Korean projectile falling into Japanese waters since 1998 and has raised concerns in the country over the safety of its aeronautics and maritime activities.

According to an official investigation, the missile was a medium-range Rodong capable of reaching its territory and that North Korea likely used a mobile launcher for the test, making detection difficult.