The window has opened during which North Korea plans to launch a rocket to bring a satellite into orbit. The launch was unlikely to take place on Thursday due to bad weather, Japanese media reported.
There had been no indications of the controversial launch, and it was presumed it would not occur Thursday, Japanese media reported on Thursday, referring to government sources.
"The weather is poor, and it is now past the launch time given, so there will probably be no launch," Kyodo news agency quoted an unnamed North Korean government source as saying.
North Korea has said it would launch a weather satellite between Thursday and Monday as the centerpiece of celebrations marking the 100th birthday of the communist state's late founder, Kim Il Sung, on April 15. It said the launch would take place between 7 a.m. and noon (2200-0300 GMT).
Pyongyang announced on Wednesday it was fueling the rocket.
The planned launch has caused concern among many other nations, who fear it is a disguised test of an intercontinental rocket capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The United States, Japan and Britain, among others, say it is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that ban North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile programs.
Pyongyang denies that, saying the three-stage Unha-3 rocket is only meant to take a satellite into orbit.
Experts say the Unha-3 is similar to the type of rocket that could be used to fire a missile carrying an atomic warhead.
ncy/ng (dpa, Reuters)