04/04/2009, 00.00
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Tokyo announces Pyongyang missile launch, then retracts mistake

The crisis management center set up by the Japanese prime minister says it was a "technical problem." The news was picked up by agencies in the country, and television stations interrupted their normal programming. Pyongyang says it is ready for the launch. South Korean experts: depending on the weather, it will take place on April 6.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) -The Japanese government has retracted the informal declaration, issued in the early hours of the morning, that North Korea had launched its missile. Tokyo admits that the information relative to the missile launch was "mistaken," attributing it to "a technical error."

This morning, the Japanese center for managing the North Korean crisis, activated by prime minister Taro Aso, had announced the missile launch. According to Pyongyang, this is a telecommunications satellite; Japan and South Korea say that it is a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and of hitting the Hawaiian islands.

The news was quickly picked up by all the agencies in the country, and television stations interrupted their normal programming. A few minutes later, the crisis management center retracted the announcement, explaining that "the takeoff of a flying object has not been confirmed."

Pyongyang says that it has "finished" the preparations for the launch, and that "soon" it will send "a telecommunications satellite" into orbit. South Korean experts recall the role played by meteorological conditions in the launching of a long-range missile; according to forecasts for the province of North Hamgyong - where the missile launch pad is located - the best day will be "Monday, April 6."

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