South Korea and Japan have warned North Korea of negative consequences if it continues with plans to launch a long-range ballistic missile.
The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) has ordered its armed forces to shoot down any potential North Korean rocket that violates its airspace and threatens national security.
Japanese Defence minister Gen Nakatani was quoted by media sources as saying: "We have defenses ready to deal with all threats, but in view of the announcement I have put the Self Defense Force’s Aegis destroyers and our PAC-3 units on alert, and issued an order to shoot down any ballistic missile threat."
The move comes after North Korea informed the UN International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of a planned earth observation satellite launch, scheduled to be held between 8 and 25 February.
Meanwhile, the US, Japan and South Korea have accused North Korea of conducting a ballistic-missile launch that violates the UN protocol.
South Korean senior security official Cho Tae-yong was quoted by voanews as saying: "The North will pay a severe price if it goes ahead with the long-range missile launch plan, which is a threat to peace not only in the Korean peninsula, but also this region and around the world.
The countries have requested a strong UN resolution against North Korea.
On 6 January, North Korea claimed to have conducted its fourth submarine missile test.