North Korea readies longer range rocket; Japan, S.Korea wary
Reuters -- Apr 09
North Korea has readied a rocket for a launch from a forested valley in its remote northwest this week that will showcase the reclusive state's ability to fire a missile with the capacity to hit the continental United States.
Pyongyang says the rocket, to be launched this week, will only carry a weather satellite, but South Korea and the United States say it is a test of a ballistic missile. And although the risk of it veering off course is low, guidance remains its weakest point.
In a rare move, reporters were taken to the new Sohae launch station, close to the border with China, where work was in progress to ready the 30-metre high Unha-3 rocket and its satellite.
The three-stage rocket was on the launch platform, indicating the launch will go ahead on plan between April 12-16.
"Supreme Commander Kim Jong-un made a very bold decision, that is why you are allowed to be this close to the launch site," site director Jang Myong Jin told visiting foreign journalists on Sunday.
North Korea announced plans to launch the satellite-bearing rocket to coincide with the 100th birthday celebrations of its founder, Kim Il-sung, a move that will help cement the prestige of his grandson Kim Jong-un, who took power in December.
Shortly after arriving in Tokyo Wednesday night, U.S. President Barack Obama enjoyed an informal dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a top-rated sushi restaurant in the posh Ginza shopping district. (Jiji Press )
The education ministry conducted national academic achievement tests on Tuesday for all final-year students at primary and middle schools across the country. About 2.24 million students at about 30,000 schools took Japanese and mathematics exams. (The Japan News )
Police in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture, admitted Wednesday that they mistakenly arrested a woman in her 20s over her suspected involvement in a blackmail case which occurred in January of this year. (Japan Today )
Tokyo High Court ordered the state and a former Maritime Self-Defense Force officer on Wednesday to pay 73 million yen in compensation for the 2004 suicide of a junior crewman of an MSDF destroyer after bullying by the officer. (Jiji Press )
The Imperial Household Agency announced this week that it has received over 100,000 applications from individuals seeking to participate in the first ever public opening of parts of the Imperial Palace. (Japan Today )
A former judge from the Ministry of Justice is alleged to have installed a camera inside a women's toilet inside a ministry building in Kasumigaseki, people with knowledge of the matter announced on Monday, reports Sports Nippon (Apr. 22). (Tokyo Reporter )
Police in Fuso, Aichi Prefecture, said Sunday they have arrested an unemployed 38-year-old man for attempted murder after he broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend and stabbed her and her parents. (Japan Today )