Japan gave its military the green light on Friday to shoot down any incoming North Korean rocket, with tensions high ahead of a planned launch that the US and allies say will be an illegal missile test.
Japanese and US warships have already deployed ahead of the April 4-8 window, when the secretive North has said it will launch a communications satellite -- warning that shooting it down would be seen as an act of war.
But South Korea, Japan and the United States have all warned the North that any launch would be unacceptable, amid fears the regime is actually intending to test a long-range missile that could reach North America.
Russia -- which with the two Koreas, China, Japan and the US is part of a six-party forum working on the North's nuclear disarmament -- urged Pyongyang not to carry out the launch, saying there was no need to "ignite passions".
The security council in Japan, officially pacifist since the end of World War II, decided ahead of time to shoot down any incoming missile that could hit its territory rather than wait until a launch.
"The security council this morning decided to issue a destruction order in advance," said Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada. "We will do our best to handle any flying object from North Korea."
Now. How will the whack jobs react?
The Japanese have the same missile we used to knock-out that satellite, btw. It would be useful if they did it instead of us because then it would not be an excuse to start something with South Korea, or so goes my 30 second mental analysis.