North Korean Missile broke up soon after launch
Jul 29, 10:11 PM (ET)
TOKYO (Reuters) - The Taepodong-2 long-range missile test-fired by North Korea on July 5 broke up and fell back to earth just after its launch, making its flight much shorter than previously believed, media reports said on Sunday.

The Japanese government had previously said the Taepodong-2 fell into the Sea of Japan about 640 km (400 miles) from the launch site.

Sources quoted by Kyodo news agency said the missile exploded in mid-air within 1.5 km of the launch site, either in a northeastern region of North Korea or in its territorial waters on the edge of the Sea of Japan.

Experts have said the missile is potentially capable of hitting parts of U.S. territory.

The problem was most likely due to difficulties with the missile's boosters, sources quoted by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said.

A Japanese government official quoted by the Yomiuri said the new analysis, which will be included in a report to be issued by the government early next month, indicated that North Korea's missile technology was still immature.

"It will likely take a long time for North Korea to launch a Taepodong-2 again," he added.