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Japan Media Revels Over Failed ICBM

Posted July. 31, 2006 03:04,   


The U.S. and Japanese governments believe that North Korea’s Taepodong-2 long-range missile (6,000km) fired on July 5 by North Korea broke up and fell back to earth just after its launch, according to the Japanese media on Sunday.

Sources quoted by the Mainichi Shimbun said that Japan`s Defense Agency said in its analysis report to be announced early August that the missile fell a few dozen kilometers away from the coast, and concluded it was a complete failure.

The United States has told Japan that North Korea`s long-range Taepodong-2 missile exploded in midair within 1.5 kilometers of the launching pad, Tokyo Shimbun reported.

The problem was most likely due to a failure in fine-tuning the missile`s new type of boosters. Part of the missile fell to the ground and the remaining part came down in waters off North Korea, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

The Japanese government had previously reported that the missile aimed at the East Sea about 640 kilometers from the launch site, but the government will reportedly revise the account extensively in the new analysis report.

According to sources, an early warning satellite of the U.S. confirmed that the booster Taepodong-2 burned for about 40 seconds after being fired on July 5 at the Musudanri missile base, the northeastern part of the country.

Based on information including combustion detection after the launch and the initial angle of the launch, the two governments had previously presumed that the Taepodong-2 would fly about 640 kilometers from the launch site and fall into the East Sea, about 500 kilometers northwest of Niigata Prefecture of Japan.

But later, images taken by U.S. military reconnaissance satellites and Japan’s information gathering satellites disclosed the debris of the Taepodong-2 near the launch site.

Moreover, it was later revealed that the missile flew at too low an altitude for the radars of U.S. and Japanese Aegis-equipped destroyers to detect the flight path, proving that it flew for a very short distance.

Sources quoted by the Yomiuri Shimbun said that the Taepodong comprises four Rodong missiles, each with a range of 1,300 kilometers, as boosters and another Rodong on top of them.

High technological skills are needed to adjust thrust forces of the boosters to fly the missile on an exact course.

According to the paper, a Japanese government official said, "The failure of the Taepodong-2 indicated that North Korea`s missile technology was immature. It will likely take a long time for North Korea to launch a Taepodong-2 again."

In the meantime, the Japanese lifted the 24 hour surveillance system which has been enforced to detect additional missile launches with its Aegis-equipped warships.