Japan put its military on alert on Wednesday to shoot down any North Korean rocket that threatens it, while South Korea warned the North it would pay a "severe price" if it goes ahead with a satellite launch that South Korea considers a missile test.
North notified U.N. agencies on Tuesday of its plan to launch what it called an "earth observation satellite" some time between Feb. 8 and 25.
North Korea has said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space program by launching rockets, although the United States and other governments suspect that such launches are in reality tests of its missiles.
"We have defenses ready to deal with all threats, but in view of the announcement I have put the Self Defense Force's Aegis destroyers and our PAC-3 units on alert and issued an order to shoot down any ballistic missile threat," Japan's defense minister, Gen Nakatani, told media briefing.
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