TOKYO - Japan's defense minister said Friday that North Korea had launched a "flying object" that fell into the ocean after a short flight, indicating that the launch had appeared to have failed.
"We have the information some sort of flying object had been launched from North Korea" around 7:40am (2240 GMT Thursday), Naoki Tanaka told reporters.
"The flying object is believed to have flown for more than one minute and (fell) into the ocean. This does not affect our country's territory at all."
Jiji Press quoted an anonymous defense ministry source as saying two objects had fallen into the Yellow Sea.
But authorities noted the Japanese territory was intact and urged Japanese people to stay calm and carry on with their normal life and business.
None of Japanese officials directly commented on whether the launch succeeded or failed.
North Korea has said the rocket would place a satellite in orbit for peaceful research purposes, but Western critics see the launch as a thinly veiled ballistic missile test, banned by United Nations resolutions.
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