North Korea launches rocket, seems to pass over Okinawa: Japan

TOKYO Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:13pm EST

TOKYO (Reuters) - North Korea launched a rocket on Wednesday and the missile appears to have passed over Okinawa, Japan's government said.

The missile was launched at 9:49 am JST (0049 GMT) from North Korea's west coast, Japan's government said in a statement.

North Korea has said it was sending a satellite into space and gave international agencies notice of a planned trajectory that would take the rocket over Japan's southern islands near Okinawa.

The launch, which the North announced on December 1, has been condemned by the South, the United States, Japan and Russia, among others, as it is seen as a means of testing a long-range missile that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead.

(Writing by Stanley White; Editing by Shinichi Saoshiro)

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