Japan Reports Missile Test By North Korea

Monday, May 2, 2005

PUSAN, South Korea, May 1 -- North Korea appears to have test-launched a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan on Sunday morning, according to Japanese government officials investigating the incident.

Officials in Tokyo could not immediately confirm the type of missile used but said it did not appear to be a type of longer-range missile that could threaten Japan's security. North Korea periodically test-fires land-based anti-ship missiles, but in 1998, it shocked the world when it test-fired a longer-range ballistic missile over Japan.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported that the missile was fired around 8 a.m. and traveled about 60 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan not far from the North Korean coast.

U.S. officials have expressed growing concern that North Korea may be preparing to a carry out a nuclear test and may have mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile that could reach Japan and the West Coast of the United States.

A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that because the missile tested Sunday was short-range, its firing did not violate a moratorium on testing the longer-range Taepo Dong missile that North Korea announced in 1999.

-- Anthony Faiola and Dafna Linzer

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