August 8, 2016 / 11:21 AM / 3 years ago

Japan orders military to be ready for North Korea missile launch at any time

A soldier with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) runs up the beach to set up a perimeter defense during a simulated beach assault at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Unit during the multi-national military exercise RIMPAC in Kaneohe, Hawaii, July 30, 2016. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan ordered its military on Monday to be ready at any time to shoot down any North Korean missiles that threaten to strike Japan, putting its forces on a state of alert for at least three months, a defence ministry official and media said.

Up to now, Japan has issued temporary orders when it had indications of an imminent North Korean missile launch that it has canceled after a projectile had been launched.

However, because some test firings are hard to detect, it has decided to put its military on standby for a longer period. The order will be reviewed after three months, state broadcaster NHK said.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Robert Birsel

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