News

DATE=9/3/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-238107 TITLE=JAPAN/ NORTH KOREAN MISSILE (L-ONLY) (CQ) BYLINE=STEVE HERMAN DATELINE=TOKYO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: JAPAN HAS PUT ITS MILITARY ON ALERT THURSDAY FOLLOWING REPORTS THAT NORTH KOREA IS PREPARING TO TEST-FIRE A SECOND MISSILE. AS STEVE HERMAN REPORTS FROM TOKYO, JAPANESE AUTHORITIES SAY THEY ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE DANGERS ANOTHER SUCH FIRING POSES TO THE JAPANESE MAINLAND, AS WELL AS AIR AND SEA TRAFFIC. TEXT: JAPAN'S CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN SAYS PYONGYANG IS REJECTING HIS COUNTRY'S PROTESTS AND REFUSING TO ANSWER QUESTIONS FROM THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT ABOUT THE MISSILE LAUNCHED ON MONDAY. THE SPOKESMAN, HIROMU NONAKA, WHO IS ALSO THE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY, SAYS TOKYO BELIEVES THAT PYONGYANG MIGHT FIRE A SECOND MISSILE TO COINCIDE WITH THE CONVENING OF THE NORTH KOREAN PARLIAMENT ON SATURDAY. JAPAN'S DEFENSE AGENCY, WHICH HAS BEEN CRITICIZED BY THE MEDIA AND OPPOSITION POLITICIANS, FOR BEING CAUGHT OFF GUARD DURING THE FIRST NORTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH, SAYS IT IS ON ALERT AND HAS TAKEN UNSPECIFIED MEASURES TO PREPARE FOR THE SECOND ANTICIPATED TEST FIRING. JAPAN IS NOT SAYING HOW IT HAS COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT ANOTHER MISSILE LAUNCH IS IMMINENT, BUT SOUTH KOREA'S YONHAP NEWS AGENCY SAYS U-S SPY SATELLITES HAVE MONITORED PREPARATIONS FOR A SECOND LAUNCH AND THE INFORMATION HAS BEEN PASSED ON TO SEOUL AND TOKYO. MEDIA REPORTS IN ASIA AND THE UNITED STATES SAY THE U-S AIR FORCE HAS DISPATCHED BOMBERS TO THE PACIFIC ISLAND OF GUAM TO SHOW NORTH KOREA THAT AMERICA WILL RESPOND QUICKLY TO SUCH PROVOCATIVE ACTS. U-S DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMEN SAY MOVING THE B-2 AND B-52 BOMBERS TO GUAM IS PART OF ROUTINE TRAINING OPERATIONS. JAPANESE WERE ALARMED BY MONDAY'S FIRING OF A NEW, MORE ADVANCED NORTH KOREAN TWO-STAGE MISSILE. THE FIRST STAGE LANDED IN THE SEA OF JAPAN AND THE SECOND STAGE SAILED OVER THE COUNTRY AND FELL INTO THE PACIFIC OCEAN. JAPAN HAS REACTED BY FREEZING EFFORTS TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA AND RESTRICTING TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. IN EDITORIALS, JAPANESE NEWSPAPERS ARE CALLING THE NORTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH "A STUPID ACT" AND QUESTIONING HOW A NATION -- SUPPOSEDLY EAGER TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH ITS NEIGHBOR -- WOULD CARRY OUT SUCH A TEST, OVER JAPAN'S DENSELY POPULATED MAINLAND AND INTO HEAVILY USED INTERNATIONAL AIR AND SEA LANES. (SIGNED) NEB/SH/FC 03-Sep-98 10:39 AM EDT (1439 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .