Japan has taken a leading position in confronting the proposed North Korean launch of a satellite by missile which is believed by experts to be scheduled for this coming April 12 or 13. Japan cites an agency close to the government in Pyongyang as their source of information. Japan has prepared for the North Korean launch by deploying surface-to-air missiles in Tokyo and on Okinawa.
The United States, along with other global nations, corroborates the Japanese claim with photographs from space. The missile is seen on a launch pad in Tongchang-ri in northwest North Korea. Photos show the missile being loaded with liquid fuel in preparation for launch. The Japanese, as well as the West, see the missile launch as a test of missile technology.
North Korea is accused of violating an agreement with the U.S.of a partial nuclear freeze and an end of testing in return for food aid. The agreement was made just last month . Responding to that accusation, a foreign ministry spokesman with North Korean news agency KCNA released a statement that, North Korea, “Will never give up the right to launch a peaceful satellite, a legitimate right of a sovereign state and an essential step for economic development." The spokesman acknowledged that preparations for the launch "have entered a full-fledged stage of action. The projected launch of the working satellite is a gift to be presented by the Korean people to the centenary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the nation's young leader Kim Jong-un and the nation's founder.” he said.
North Korea has gone into considerable detail in describing its intent. The North says, "The satellite will estimate crop yields and collect weather data after a long-range rocket puts it into orbit next month. The home-built satellite will also assess the country's forest coverage and natural resources.” The North says it invites, “Experienced space experts and foreign media to observe the course of the launch in order to prove the peaceful nature of a scientific and technological satellite launch in a transparent manner."