Moscow: The Japanese armed forces could shoot down North Korea's satellite, planned to be launched next month, if the need arises, a Japanese daily has quoted the country's Defence Minister Naoki Tanaka as saying.
On Friday, the North Korean state news agency KCNA announced that the country would launch an earth observation satellite next month to mark the 100th birthday of its late founding leader Kim Il-sung.
A similar launch in 2009 drew international criticism and led to UN Security Council sanctions.
The daily said, the then Japanese defence minister Yasukazu Hamada had ordered at that time to deploy missile defence system to protect Japan from North Korean missiles if they fell onto Japanese territory.
The Unha-3 rocket, carrying the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite, meanwhile is scheduled to lift off from a launch pad in Cholsan, a coastal town in the North Korea's northwest, between April 12 and 16.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also said in a statement that Pyongyang's plans to launch the satellite in April violated the international obligations and were highly provocative.