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Japan says unconfirmed if North Korea satellite in orbit

TOKYO, Nov 22, 2023 (Net) – Japan said Wednesday it remained unclear if North Korea had success-fully managed to put a military spy satellite into orbit as claimed by Pyongyang.
“The (Japanese) government at this point is not confirming whether the satellite had entered into an orbit around the Earth,” chief government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said.
The comment came more than 12 hours after North Korea fired a ballistic missile carrying what it said was the satellite.
So far, only North Korea has said it successfully put the reconnaissance satellite into orbit.
Matsuno added that Japan’s defence ministry was “currently analysing” the launch.
“We think that since last year, North Korea has conducted repeated launches using ballistic missile tech-nology at the highest-ever frequency, and is rapidly improving its missile-related technology and its op-erational capability,” Matsuno told reporters.
“North Korea’s repeated launches using ballistic missile technology cannot be tolerated, and its rapid im-provement of missile technology cannot be overlooked,” he added.
Immediately after the launch late Tuesday, Japan issued an evacuation order to residents in the southern region of Okinawa before rescinding the call after the missile passed over the Pacific Ocean.
“Even if they call it a satellite, the launch of an item that uses ballistic missile technology is clearly a violation of the relevant United Nations resolutions,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday.
Japan in May ordered its military to be prepared to shoot down any North Korean ballistic missile after Pyongyang announced its failed first attempt to put a satellite in space.
Matsuno said that the “destroy order” remains in place, with warships equipped with SM-3 missile inter-ceptors deployed as well as military units in Okinawa that can operate Patriot PAC-3 missiles.
“North Korea insists that it will launch several satellites additionally within a short period of time, and it’s possible that it will force through launches of satellites in the future,” Matsuno said.

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