North Korea may be preparing to launch a long-range missile as soon as in a week, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported early on Thursday, citing an unnamed Japanese government official. The official cited signs of possible preparations for a missile launch based on analysis of satellite imagery of the North’s Tongchang-ri missile test site on its west coast. The report came as UN Security Council members were discussing fresh sanctions against the North after it conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6. The North is already under sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes. North Korea last conducted a long-range rocket launch in late 2012, successfully putting an object into orbit in what experts believed to be part of its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The North is also seen to be working to miniaturise a nuclear warhead to mount on a missile, but many experts say it is some time away from perfecting the technology.