Japan says it will consider all options against North Korea, including oil and food sanctions, if the communist country tests a long-range missile that could reach the United States.
The United States, Japan and other countries have been trying to head off a potential missile launch. Intelligence reports say fuel tanks have been seen around a missile at a launch site on North Korea's northeastern coast, but officials say it is difficult to determine from satellite photos if the rocket is actually being fueled.
Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said Monday that the US plans to deploy three or four surface-to-surface PAC-3 missiles in southern Japan by the end of the year, amid concerns over the possible North Korean test launch. Yomiuri quoted unidentified sources.
Growing concerns about the potential launch also prompted the US to move up its planned test of a missile-detecting radar in northern Japan, with work to start as early as Monday, Kyodo News agency reported in Japan, citing an unidentified US official in Washington.
In Washington, influential members of the US Senate said the government of President George W. Bush should talk directly with North Korea, something Pyongyang has been seeking for years.
The North has said it is willing to talk to the United States about its missile concerns.
Washington, however, has refused, insisting it will only meet North Korea amid six-nation talks aimed at ridding the communist nation of its nuclear weapons program.