N. Korea Notifies JCG of ‘Satellite’ Launch Sometime between Aug. 24-31

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Japan Coast Guard / The Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Ministry in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

North Korea has informed the Japan Coast Guard of plans to launch a “satellite rocket” sometime between Thursday and Aug. 31, the JCG announced Tuesday.

The JCG has put out an alert as the rocket might pass over the Sakishima Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. The prefectural government was to hold a crisis management meeting on Tuesday.

North Korea warned the JCG that ship navigation could be affected due to falling objects in three areas outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone — two areas west of the Korean Peninsula and one on the east side of Luzon Island in the Philippines.

On May 29, North Korea notified Japan of a planned launch of a “military reconnaissance satellite.” It attempted to launch a rocket on May 31, but the launch failed and Pyongyang indicated it would try again in the near future.

“A rocket launch using ballistic missile technology is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Tuesday morning.

“We will do our utmost to gather information and vigilantly monitor the situation, and also respond bilaterally with the United States and trilaterally with the United States and South Korea.”

Ahead of the previous launch, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada issued a shoot-down order, enabling the Self-Defense Forces to take destructive measures against ballistic missiles and other projectiles if it is confirmed they would land in Japanese territory without such action. The order has been extended.

Aegis destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air missile units have been deployed.

North Korea is developing military reconnaissance satellites under a five-year plan presented at the 2021 Korean Workers’ Party congress.

The latest launch could be aimed at boosting national morale and countering Washington and Seoul, with U.S. and South Korean forces conducting joint military exercises in South Korea from Monday to Aug. 31, and North Korea preparing to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding on Sept. 9.