all powerful. north koreans celebrate as kim jong-un takes full control of the country hours after it suffers a military failure. welcome to nhk world "newsline." that failure played out in front of the eyes of the world. north korean space officials say they tried to send a satellite into orbit. it didn't work. many countries called it a long range missile test. we'll get to that in a minute. first, the news about kim jong-un.
he's been named first chairman of the national defense commission. >> the state-run korean central news agency made the announcement friday. the commission is the center of the country's power. state media say kim's late father, kim jong-il, is now its eternal chairman. kim jong-un is also the supreme commander of north korea's military. he assumed the new top post of first secretary of the ruling workers party on wednesday. kim is now the leader of all three branches of power in north korea -- the state, the military, and the ruling party. so on one hand, north korean authorities are celebrating this transition of power. on the other, they're lamenting that failed launch we told you about. state media admitted the plan by space officials to put a satellite into orbit didn't work.
>> north korean officials launched rockets in 1998 and 2006 that they said were carrying satellites, but security analysts later said they could not find evidence of any satellites. they say tho launches were actually tests of ballistic missiles. japanese government officials say friday's launch was also a missile test. >> translator: even though the missile launch failed, north korea went ahead with it despite objections by japan and other countries. we cannot help but call this a serious provocation to the security of japan. >> fujimura said the launch also violated several u.n. security council resolutions. now let's take a look at what happened to the missile or what north koreans are calling a rocket.
the country's space official said it was supposed to follow a southerly course. they expected the booster rockets to fall into the waters off the philippines. but defense officials in south korea and japan said the missile broke up soon after launch. they say the fragments likely fell into the yellow sea. a u.s. military early warning satellite detected the launch. it registers objects that heat up to more than 1,000 degrees celsius. japanese defense ministry officials say the missile appears to have reached an altitude of 120 kilometers. south korean defense analysts believe it exploded about two minutes after liftoff. they say it initially broke into two pieces. then about six or seven minutes later, the pieces had splintered into about a dozen fragments. officials tell nhk that the missile could have been an advance ed taepo dong 2 rocket.
it is believed to have failed to separate and dropped into the pacific ocean. this time the officials say north korea likely introduced technology from iran's safir rocket in the third stage. the safir and chinese long march one rockets are similar in shape and size. the officials say there has been increased cooperation between north korea and iran in developing a ballistic missile. in february, iran successfully launched a satellite into orbit. u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon criticized north korea's missile launch calling it a deplorable act that threatens regional stability. in a statement released friday in geneva, the u.n. secretary-general says the launch violates security council resolutions despite its failure. ban urges north korea not to undertake any further provocative actions that would heighten tensions in the region.
japanese authorities spent weeks preparing for the launch. they ordered self-defense force personnel to set up interceptor missiles in the southern prefecture of okinawa. locals there expressed relief the north korean missile did not head their way. >> translator: i was so nervous because we couldn't see it coming. i had no idea when the missile would land. >> translator: i was so worried about my grandchild. i hope japan and other countries will thoroughly discuss this issue. >> south korean ministers gathered immediately after the launch. they came out to criticize their neighbors. >> translator: every launch that utilizes long-range ballistic missile technology is a clear violation of u.n. security council resolution 1874. this was a provocative act to threaten the peace and stability of the korean peninsula and northeast asia. >> kim spoke after president lee myung-bak convened an emergency meeting of his cabinet.
a defense ministry spokesperson said south korean and u.s. forces are collecting debris in the yellow sea. north korea issued a statement four hours after the launch. yuko aotani earlier spoke with choi jin-wook, an expert on north korea in seoul. >> yes, it is very unusual that north korea admitted their failure, but i think it is because it is impossible to hide a failure because foreign press was already in pyongyang and i think they got the information from the outside, and the foreign media and the press, i think they c communication with north korean people. so, i think it is almost impossible that north korean authority to hide the failure. >> and kim jong-un has supreme power after the death of his father, kim jong-il. how do you think the regime change has affected the fact that it admitted failure? >> i think that the change was not a major factor this time. i think one important reason is that because a failure itself
has a very negative impact on the regime, stability of the regime and authority of the regime. so, and also, it ruined their most important claim that they are going to open the strong and prosperous nation. so it's completely agreeing they are a long-planned party. so i don't think the regime change is not -- it does not want to admit the failure. >> i see. and also, the history suggests north korea might continue to provoke the south, if that happens. how do you think the south koreans will react? >> i think north korea's provocation will have a very damages south korea's effort to make a breakthrough in inter-korean relations after the death of kim jong-il. actually, south korean government has been discussing
the necessity to have a better policy towards north korea, but north korea really, the behavior is very disappointing and it is impossible to ignore the bad behavior. so, i think the south korean government will probably uphold the current economic sanction and take the case to the u.n. security council. >> i see. well, thank you very much, mr. choi. u.s. leaders are using strong words to condemn north korea for going ahead with the launch. they say it violated international law and u.n. resolutions. white house spokespersons released a statement calling the failed launch a provocative action that threatened regional security. they say north korean authorities went back on a commitment they made to get u.s. food aid in exchange for halting nuclear and missile tests. the spokespersons say the united states remains vigilant in the face of north korea's provocations and is fully committed to the security of its allies in the region.
china's leaders are calling for calm. the country often as as a link between the north and the rest of the world.sumu kojima tells events are playing out there. >> chinese state-run media has been giving friday's events in north korea front page coverage, quoting u.s., korean, and japanese media. however, some in beijing are still not sure. >> translator: did you hear the news? >> translator: no, not yet. >> translator: they say they failed. >> translator: i'll find out later. >> translator: what do you mean? north korea never fails. >> reporter: a foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters that the government is asking concerned nations to act calmly. >> translator: china is carefully watching how other countries react to the launch. we hope to continue the dialogue among concerned nations in order
to maintain peace and stability on the korean peninsula. >> reporter: in the days before the launch, the united states, south korea and japan asked china, as a permanent member of the u.n. security council, to take firm action if the north went ahead with the launch. however, china's position remains unclear on whether the launch was in violation of security council resolutions. chinese officials say they fear that, if the security council starts discussing stepped-up sanctions against north korea, the country may react harshly by conducting another nuclear test. they say this would lead to a further delay in making the korean peninsula nuclear-free. >> that was nhk world's susumu kojima in beijing. for more on this subject, we spoke to an associate professor at the national graduate
institute for policy studies or g.r.i.p.s. he's an expert on korean issues. >> north korea has acknowledged that the launch has failed. how will it affect kim jong-un? any negative impact? >> certainly it will have a negative impact on kim jong-un. in the past, north korea has tried to launch a satellite twice in 1998 and 2009. and each time the satellite launch failed. but the north korean authority announced that it was successful. but this time they said it was -- it failed. so i was surprised. but anyway, this is -- it's sending a message. the implication is to the north korean people and even to the leaders that the future of kim jong-un's new leadership is grim.
>> what's north korea's next step then? >> i don't think north korea -- this failure will affect north korea's game plan too much. they will continue to play the game as planned. i think north korea will say this. it was a peaceful satellite launch, and we are still perfectly willing to abide by the february agreement with the u.s., in which we'll freeze the nuclear test missile test and the operation of the uranium enrichment program while the united states, you decide to provide us with 240,000 tons of humanitarian food aid. however, they would say, if you keep saying it was a missile test and put pressure on us, we would have to walk away from this february agreement. we would have to do the same and walk away from the february agreement, which might mean -- which would mean that north korea will have to conduct another nuclear test and start reprocessing uranium again. they would say, what would you
like to do? >> we've had this announcement from the national media saying that admitting all this will be expecting more information to come out of the country? >> certainly. the message will be that, well, the satellite launch has failed, but they might actually say that the rocket launch has succeeded although the satellite launch has failed. but anyway, we'll have to see. given this, under the new leadership of kim jong-un, we have to work hard to make our country a powerful and prosperous nation which can next time successfully launch a rocket and satellite. >> i see. so how would the americans respond? >> well, there are two options that they have. one option is to say, well, they did outrageous provocation, and
we have to punish north korea, and we have to come up with additional united nations security council resolution, and we have to put more sanctions. and this might be politically popular way to go, but if you do -- if the united states decide to do this, north korea might actually decide to conduct another nuclear test. another option is that, after things get settled, the united states decide to actually talk to the north koreans and try to persuade north korea into the decision not to conduct another nuclear test. and so it's a lot of it will depend on the u.s. decision what to do. >> right. so in your opinion, will north korea conduct another nuclear test? >> well, we don't know. as i said, the u.s. response to this would be an important factor.
now that the missile -- sorry. the rocket launch -- or what they call a rocket launch or missile launch has failed, there is increased domestic political need on the part of the north koreans to test a nuclear weapon in order to enhance their position both domestically and internationally. we have to wait and see, but the situation is not that good. china's economy grew 8.1% in the january to march period compared to a year earlier. the rate of growth has slowed for a fifth quarter in a row. the national bureau of statistics says the year-on-year growth rate is the lowest since the april-to-june quarter of 2009. that's when the economy was still reeling from the global
financial crisis. the bureau says the european debt problems dampened demand for chinese goods. is it also cites the rising labor costs in china and soaring oil prices as factors for the slowdown. >> translator: china faces crucial issues, like a slowdown in exports and surging consumer prices. >> observers say china will determine when to ease its monetary policy as it watches how the economy is performing. economists have different opinion on china's economic growth going forward. here's what ke long, a senior fellow at the fujitsu research institute, has to say. >> i think the government is coming to enforce liquidity generation policy like qe-2, qe-3 in the united states, to support the company's investment and also to stimulate the
private consumption. and a second one, we find that smes, small companies in china, are just facing quite difficulties to finance. because in the firmo financial market, the private companies, especial the small companies, they cannot, you know, borrow money, especially from commercial banks, for example. so, i think the government need to reform the system and enforce some policy mix to help the small companies to finance in the firmo financial market. that was ke long, senior fellow at fujitsu research institute. a different kind of exhibition is under way in central tokyo. the target is the country's growing ranks of senior citizens.
major japanese supermarket chain eon group opened the fair on monday. it's a series of dishes to match the seniors' tastes. clothes are also on display. they're wider around the waist to make people feel more comfortable. and within 20 minutes, visitors can get a pair of bifocal glasses made. this booth provides a match making service for singles 50 years or older. >> translator: i am planning to go out more often and spend more time for my hobbies. so it's nice that they're expanding their product lineups for people like us. >> japanese retailers expected the market for seniors to expand as baby boomers start to retire in large numbers. other retailers are hot on eon's tail. two other major supermarket operators are also beefing up their product lines for this generation.
japanese electronicsmaker sharp has developed a new technology for making better performing liquid crystal display panels. the company is hoping to use the know-how to turn its money losing lcd business around. sharp said on friday that the new lcd panel has twice the number of pixels than previous models to produce finer images and cuts power consumption by about 80%. the company expects the newly developed panel to be used mostly for tablet computers. it says the panel is fully competitive with those produced by overseas rivals. sharp plans to cut production of lcd panels for televisions alt its main plant in western japan and boost output of new panels during this fiscal year. overcast in tokyo this afternoon. robert speta joins with us what to expect for the weekend for here and elsewhere. robert? >> well, gene, yes, some cloudy skies out across much of japan today. even some rain showers down here
towards the south. actually in kagoshima prefecture, in one hour, you saw up to 26 millimeters of rainfall as the storm system moved through. even in okinawa you expected or saw up to 30 millimeters of rainfall early this morning. but now the storm is work its way off towards the east, expecting to bring some heavy rain showers throughout the day on saturday. this is going to be accompanied by some cooler temperatures coming down from 22 on friday, all the way down to 13 here in tokyo, but good news going into sunday, some warmer air will move into the area, raising the temperatures all the way back up to the low 20s. but let's pull back here and look at temperatures out towards the west here in shanghai at 21. hong kong, you saw some thunderstorms this afternoon with a high of 29 there. and into bangkok, 36 for your high on saturday. this is also accompanied by some afternoon, evening pop-up thunderstorms. let's move into the americas here. here all these higher cloud tops indicated in the bright white, this is a storm system that has been continuing to bring some severe weather towards the
central plains. it does look like another round of severe weather is going to be popping up here across oklahoma and even into southern kansas on your friday. all these areas indicated here in the orange this is where the highest threat is going to be. you have the warm air coming in from the south, cold air surging in from the north will be clashing here. on saturday, all these ingredients will be perfectly in place for a severe weather outbreak, even a tornado outbreak is possible here with some very strong ones at times throughout the day, especially into the afternoon and evening hours. this is where you're going to be the highest at risk. if you have travel plans out of wichita, oklahoma city, check the flights as it could be delayed or canceled throughout the weekend here. going into sunday, though, storm system will start to work its way towards the east. but good news out ahead of it, some warm air is surging in from the south, creating some really fantastic weather for the boston marathon. you're seeing temperatures rise up to 20 on saturday. some rain on sunday will be moving through, but this will
taper off by the evening hours. on monday, high of 24, partly cloudy skies, absolutely great day to get out there and go for a run. if you're a spectator during the marathon, another fun day for you and your whole family here. also looking to europe, there is an area ofow presse here in the mediterranean, already moved overardinia d ouhey weds italy, large hail, even a few wer ro before the system mos f pop up.mtetnas thrg
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fialsathmiil appears to have reached an altitude of 120 kilometers. south korean defense analysts believe it exploded about two minutes after lift-off. they say it initially broke into two pi about six or seven minutes ces d into about a dozen fragments. u.n. secretary-generalan ll aepe t atized the launch threatens regional stability. in a statement released friday geneva, the u.n. secretary-general said the launch violates security council reluonititfaur ban urges north korea not to undertake any further provocative actions that would heighten tensions in the region. we'll be back with more news in 30 nus. i'm gene ota i tokyo. thank you very much for joining us on k rl ha are d wrer u are.