Cylindrical object found on Tottori beach likely North Korean missile part

An object suspected of being a fragment from a North Korean missile fired in February has been found on a beach in Tottori, the prefectural government said.

An official with the Tottori Prefectural Government discovered the object along the Sea of Japan coastline, in the town of Yurihama Thursday afternoon, officials said Friday.

The object, described as cylindrical with a conical head and distinctive markings, is 1.8 meters long and 1.2 meters wide.

It closely resembles an object recovered by South Korea that is believed to be part of a long-range missile that fell into the East China Sea after flying over Okinawa Prefecture on Feb. 7, the prefectural government said.

In Tokyo Friday, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani told reporters that the ministry will try to identify the object as soon as possible by sending a team to Tottori and said the possibility of it being part of a long-range North Korean missile cannot be ruled out.

On Saturday, rocket experts in South Korea and the United States said the object is probably the nose fairing of a ballistic missile launched by the North.

The fragment “definitely looks like a ‘nose fairing half’ from a rocket” and is likely “to be from a North Korean launch,” said Jonathan McDowell, astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the United States.

Separately, Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Israel, said he has “no doubt” the fragment is the fairing of the North Korean missile.

“South Korea found just one half of the fairing from the Feb. 7 launch, and this is the second part,” he said.

 

Source: Japan Time