TOKYO, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso Friday warned the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in strong words that its planned rocket launch must be called off even if it is intended for a satellite program as Pyongyang says, the Kyodo News reported.
"No matter what the claim is, be it a manmade satellite, it will be a blatant breach of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718," Aso was quoted as saying, "Japan must lodge a stern protest through the United Nations and resolutely demand it be called off."
"There is no country which has test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile passing above another country. In that sense, I have no intention to allow (the object) to pass above Japan without asking permission," Aso said.
He added that the issue should be jointly responded with countries including the United States and South Korea if the object flies toward the Pacific Ocean.
"Even if the rocket is for a communications satellite, it would be a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions," Aso said. If the DPRK actually launches the rocket, "Japan will bring the case to the Security Council."
Earlier in the day, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura threatened the DPRK that Japan was ready to defend itself against possible dangers posed by the launch.
"If this object falls toward Japan, we have the right to shoot it down for safety reasons," he said.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada also issued similar warnings. He said Japan would deal with anything that is flying toward its territory. However, Japan's law does not allow the country to shoot it down if it passes over the country.
The DPRK has informed international community of its plan to launch a satellite between April 4 and 8, as some countries continue to suspect it is a cover for the test-firing of a long-range ballistic missile.