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Japan relief as no NKorea launch on first day

world Updated: Apr 04, 2009 16:06 IST

AFP
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Japan heaved a sigh of relief on Saturday after the first day of North Korea's scheduled five-day launch period passed without a rocket blast-off."It's good to see no launch although we don't know why," Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone told reporters. "I hope it won't happen tomorrow and the day after tomorrow."

Communist North Korea has said it intends to launch what it describes as a communications satellite between April 4 and 8 and between the hours of 0200 and 0700 GMT over Japanese territory.

The United States, Japan and South Korea, however, say the real purpose is to test the carrier rocket,an intercontinental ballistic missile which, in theory, could reach as far as Alaska or Hawaii.North Korea said earlier on Saturday that preparations had now been completed at its Musudan-ri site in the northeast, and that a launch was imminent.