TOKYO, March 26 (UPI) -- An order for the Japanese military to shoot down a North Korean missile scheduled for launch in April could come as soon as Friday, officials said.
The order to the Self-Defense Forces could be given after a meeting of the Security Council of Japan led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Monday.
The Defense Ministry will deploy three destroyers in the East China Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan to track the missile's path, military sources told the newspaper. Also, the ministry said it will deploy ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors.
North Korea announced it will launch an "Earth observation satellite" between April 12 and April 16 to mark the 100th birthday (April 15) of founder Kim Il Sung.
Analysts have suggested in various media reports that North Korea plans to test-fire a long-range missile.
The Yomiuri Shimbun's sources said the interceptors and destroyers would be used to shoot down the missile or its fragments if it appears they may fall in Japanese territory.