|Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. (Photo: Reuters)
The North says it has completed its first military spy satellite and leader Kim Jong Un has approved final preparations for the launch.
It would be the North's latest step in a series of missile launches and weapons tests in recent months, including a new, solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile.
Japan expects North Korea to fire the rocket carrying its satellite over the southwest island chain as it did in 2016, a defence ministry spokesperson said.
Analysts say the new satellite is part of a surveillance technology programme that includes drones, aimed at improving the ability to strike targets in wartime.