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2009年3月28日 (土)

破壊措置命令 北のミサイルに冷静に備えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 28, 2009)
SDF must protect against a wayward DPRK missile
破壊措置命令 北のミサイルに冷静に備えよ(3月28日付・読売社説)

It is essential for national security that measures be taken to prepare for emergencies. We hope the Self-Defense Forces will take all necessary measures to protect this nation if North Korea launches a missile and it malfunctions.

Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada ordered the SDF for the first time Friday to destroy the North Korean missile if it fails after launch and falls toward Japanese territory.

The SDF will take a two-step approach, involving both ground- and sea-based defenses. Two Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers will soon be dispatched to the Sea of Japan, while Air Self-Defense Force guided-missile units will be deployed in the Tohoku region and surrounding areas that are located under the expected flight path of the ballistic missile.

It is important to act calmly as North Korea's missile launch approaches.

North Korea has said it will "put a satellite into orbit" and that Japan is not a target of its rocket launch.

If the missile travels without any mishap, it will not fall on the Japanese mainland or waters.

A problem could occur, however, if a rare mishap occurs involving certain malfunctions, such as one in which the missile's first-stage booster functions properly, but the second-stage booster then malfunctions, causing the missile to stall and fall on Japan.

If that were to occur, people's lives and property would be at risk. It is natural that the SDF should then try to intercept a missile to minimize possible damage.


United States within range

The North Korean weapon that poses the most direct threat to Japan is the Rodong intermediate-range ballistic missile, which is capable of hitting any point on the Japanese archipelago.

North Korea's long-range ballistic missile widens the threat to include the United States, which now finds itself exposed to danger because Alaska, Hawaii and Guam come within range.

U.S. spy satellites have been used to confirm missile launch preparations at an early stage.

If the SDF tries to intercept the missile, U.S. early-warning satellites also would detect the missile launch and Japanese and U.S. radars would then track it.

It is important that Japan and the United States closely share information and strengthen operational cooperation for that purpose.


Keep worried citizens informed

When North Korea launched seven ballistic missiles that fell into the Sea of Japan in July 2006, information on the missile launch sent by the central government to local governments and related organizations nationwide was delayed. Taking this into account, the central government will this time brief residents who live under the missile flight path on the deployment of guided missile units and how a wayward missile would be intercepted.

Before North Korea actually launches a missile, the Japanese government should put in place a system that allows it to swiftly convey all necessary information to people concerned to minimize public anxiety.

North Korea has announced it will put a "satellite" into orbit sometime between April 4 and 8, notifying aviation and maritime organizations of its plan in accordance with international norms. Japan, together with South Korea and the United States, must make diplomatic efforts until the last minute to call for a halt to the missile launch, while trying to gain the cooperation of countries such as China and Russia.

If North Korea goes ahead and launches a missile despite such efforts, Japan should put the issue before the U.N. Security Council where a strict response can be discussed. We must avoid a situation in which Pyongyang escapes criticism or additional sanctions for choosing to launch a missile.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 28, 2009)
(2009年3月28日01時34分  読売新聞)


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