Japan warns N.Korea amid signs missile test imminent
By Teruaki Ueno
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan warned North Korea on Sunday of "a harsh response" from Tokyo and Washington if it fired a long-range missile, as media reports suggested that the secretive state could be hours away from a test launch.
Foreign Minister Taro Aso said in a television interview that Japan would seek an immediate meeting of the U.N. Security Council if Pyongyang went ahead with an intercontinental ballistic missile test.
He voiced concern about the possibility of a missile dropping on Japan, but toned down a remark made in an earlier interview that Japan would automatically regard this as an attack.
"We will not right away view it as a military act," he said.
A Japanese government official was quoted by the Japanese daily Sankei Shimbuna as saying that North Korea had told its people to raise the national flag at 2:00 pm (0500 GMT) on Sunday and to then monitor television for a "message to the people".
CBS News reported that South Korea’s ambassador to the United States, Lee Tae-sik, had told Korean correspondents in Washington that North Korea may have fueled the missile already.
"Satellite photos confirmed scores of fuel tanks near the missile launch pad. We are not sure whether they had already completed fuelling or located (the tanks) there to fuel it," Lee was quoted as saying.
Aso stopped short of saying what Japan and the United States would do in the event of a launch.