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U.S. Watched North Korea Prepare for ICBM Launch; Japan Announced North Korea Launch Before Missile Landed

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Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson report: U.S. officials watched North Korea prepare for the Tuesday launch of its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile, a well-placed senior U.S. official told Fox News – however, no anti-missile defense systems appear to have been activated to shoot down the rocket.

The U.S. had watched North Korea fueling the rocket prior to launch, the official said.

The missile fired on Tuesday is a new type of North Korean ICBM, which has yet to be named, Fox News was told. It uses liquid fuel – meaning the rocket takes more time to move and is less mobile than a missile that operates on solid fuel.

Given the apparent advance notice enjoyed by U.S. officials, it’s unclear why the Pentagon did not attempt to shoot the ICBM down with the U.S. missile defense shield components in the region. The missile flew 1,700 miles into space and was in flight for 37 minutes … (read more)

via Fox News

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Government Announced North Korea Launch Before Missile Landed

The government made public North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile before it landed in the Sea of Japan on Tuesday, making it the first case in which it was able to announce a launch that was conducted without advance notice before the missile had landed.

Local governments and airline operators were on alert and busy responding to the information.

Fired by North Korea on Tuesday morning, the ballistic missile flew for about 40 minutes and landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan. The Defense Ministry issued the first report saying, “A missile was fired and could land within Japan’s EEZ” at around 9:50 a.m., about 10 minutes after the launch.

The Self-Defense Forces traced the course of the missile with radar immediately after the launch. As a result of analysis by the Japan Aerospace Defense Ground Environment system and other means, the SDF judged there would be no risk of the missile falling on Japanese land.

Therefore the SDF did not take steps to intercept the missile. It landed in the Sea of Japan about 30 minutes after the report.

In previous cases, the government announced the missile launches after confirming their landing. Since this spring, it has publicly announced missile launches at the stage of detecting their launches.

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However, in the case of a ballistic missile launch by Pyongyang on May 29, an announcement was made by the Defense Ministry about 35 minutes after the launch, when the missile had already landed in the Sea of Japan.

This time, partly because the missile was in the air for about 40 minutes, the ministry was able to make a pre-landing announcement for the first time.

A senior Defense Ministry official said, “Public interest in North Korea’s provocative actions has been increasing, and we judged it necessary to announce the fact as early as possible.”

An official of the Nagasaki prefectural government was busy informing municipalities in the prefecture of the launch after receiving from the central government after 10 a.m. on Tuesday the information that there was a possibility the North Korean missile could land in the Sea of Japan. The prefectural government plans to conduct its first evacuation drill on July 20 on the pretext of a ballistic missile attack.

The official said: “Nagasaki [Prefecture] assumes a missile would arrive [from North Korea] in seven minutes at the fastest. We want the central government to make efforts to reduce the time needed to provide information [on launches] even by a few seconds.”

In response to a series of Pyongyang missile launches, the government urged all prefectures in April to carry out evacuation drills with the participation of local residents. Nine prefectures, including Aomori, Akita and Niigata, have conducted the drills so far.

A new system fully introduced by the government by the end of April operated properly after the Tuesday launch … (read more)

Source: The Japan News

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