Patriot missile battery (illustrative)
Patriot missile battery (illustrative)Israel news photo: IDF/Flash 90

Japan is preparing for a potential North Korean nuclear missile attack – or a missile test. 

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera ordered installation of a Patriot anti-missile defense missile battery on the grounds of the country’s defense ministry in central Tokyo on Tuesday.

Standing orders were also issued to shoot down any missile arriving from North Korea, The New York Times reported. Two Japanese military bases near Tokyo, both equipped with Patriots, will provide the second line of defense, the ministry told reporters.

Warships equipped with interceptor missiles and Aegis radar have also been deployed in Japanese waters as a defense between that country and the Korean Peninsula.

The reason for the extra layer of protection has to do with Japan’s close relationship with the United States – the main target of North Korea’s growing hostility and vitriolic rhetoric, along with Seoul, its other target.

South Korean officials said last weekend that Pyongyang appears to be preparing to test launch the Musudan, a new medium-range military missile. 

If true, the missile is estimated to have a range that can reach between Japan and Guam – in other words, from American bases on the territory of its ally, to the soil of its own island territory.

Intelligence reports and video clips posted by North Korea on the Internet showed Pyongyang has been working on developing an explosive atomic device small enough to fit into a missile warhead.

A further concern is whether the North Koreans have exported their technology to anyone else, and if so – to whom.

On September 6, 2007, Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction in Syria that was clearly being built with the assistance of North Korea.