The Defense Agency has been informed by U.S. sources that the Rodong missile North Korea test fired in May 1993 might have flown over Japan, Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga said Friday.The single-stage missile possibly flew some 1,300 km and landed in the Pacific, Nukaga quoted the U.S. sources as saying. The information was given to the agency early this year and was passed on to Nukaga in early August after he assumed the post of defense chief, he said.However, Nukaga did not instruct agency officials on what to do with the information because it was delivered to him informally and because the agency had already denied the possibility of the Rodong missile flying over Japan, he said.According to a senior agency intelligence official, its headquarters decided in May to deny the possibility of the Rodong missile having flown past Japan because the U.S. sources failed to provide sufficient evidence to back up the information. “There have been many examples of unconfirmed information over the Rodong launch five years ago,” he said. “Unlike the Taepodong launch in August, neither the U.S. nor Japan were able to follow the missile’s track at that time.”The official, who asked not to be named, declined to reveal further details about the U.S. report or its sources. The Defense Agency has still maintained its official stance that the 1993 North Korean missile flew some 500 km and landed in the Sea of Japan.The intelligence headquarters has doubted that North Korea intended to fire the missile into the Pacific because it was North Korea’s first test firing of a Rodong missile and there was a risk that if the missile fell short of 1,000 km, it could land on mainland Japan, the intelligence official said.
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