Pedestrians walk past a monitor showing news of North Korea firing a ballistic missile, on a street in Tokyo, Japan, 18 November 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

North Korea plans to launch ‘satellite,’ Japan warns

Tokyo, May 29 (EFE).- North Korea has notified the International Maritime Organization of its plans to launch a satellite between May 31 and June 11, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported Monday, citing government sources.

People watch the a news report pertaining to the celebration in North Korea of the founding anniversary of the Korean People's Army, at a station in Seoul, South Korea, 09 February 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/JEON HEON-KYUN

Last month, North Korea said it had completed preparations to launch a military reconnaissance satellite.

Pyongyang will outline three maritime danger zones into which it estimates objects could fall during the launch process, according to Kyodo news agency.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said in a press conference Monday that launching a satellite is equivalent to firing a ballistic missile and poses a threat to peace and stability in the international community, Kyodo added.

Any missile that enters Japanese territory would be destroyed, the defense ministry said in a statement.

The government of Japan considers the satellite launch operation a pretext to launch a ballistic missile and the prime minister’s office has given instructions to “prepare for unforeseen circumstances and take all possible measures.”

Japan will cooperate with the United States and South Korea, and will strongly urge North Korea to exercise self-restraint, it added.

North Korea has launched five space rockets with which it said it was looking to put observation satellites into orbit, the last one in February 2016.

The international community considered in each case that the regime was trying to covertly test ballistic missile technology, and no expert has ever picked up any sign of North Korean devices being deployed into Earth’s orbit.

Pyongyang has since tested numerous intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the last one on Apr. 13. EFE