TOKYO, April 5 - Japan has ordered a destroyer in the Sea of Japan to strike any ballistic missiles that may be launched by North Korea in the coming weeks after Pyongyang fired a Rodong medium-range missile over the sea, a government source said on Saturday.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order on Thursday, but did not make it public in order to avoid putting a chill on renewed talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang, the first in more than a year, local media reported earlier.

"The defence minister made the order from April 3rd through to the 25th to prepare for any additional missile launches," the source said.