9:24 - Much ado about nothing. All the major networks have reverted to their daily television pap, save Fuji Terebi, the home of paranoia about the DPRK and China.
9:07 - The focus now shifts to Pyongyang: who gets blamed, who gets demoted. Will Kim Jong-un take this very public failure to move against elements that stand in the way of the DPRK's opening up to the world, in the manner that China did in the 1980s? The faction advocating provocation, duplicity and brinkmanship has taken a hit. Will they go quietly, or will the capital be swept up in factional conflict? Having everyone in Pyongyang for the party conference makes for a great opportunity for a lot of mutual finger pointing.
8:57 - The Defense Ministry has announced that the rocket split into four pieces at a height 120 kilometers in altitude. This would seem to preclude a self-destruct message from the ground.
8:55 - True to the national consensus, NHK is referring to the rocket as a missile. Historically, as Japan is the only country threatened by the DPRK Nodong missile force, the government of Japan and the Japanese in general take the most intolerant view of the DPRK's rocket/missile program.
8:45 - According to the Defense Ministry, the rocket blew up one minute into its flight. Like I said on Monday, the international ban on the testing of ballistic missile technology created what would be an unacceptable chance of this launch being a failure.
8: 40 - The North Korean rocket has blown up in midflight. More details as they come in.
No one seems to have gotten hurt. The Japanese government, like everyone else, is trying to figure what has happened. The Security Council is meeting: an announcement will be forthcoming.
NHK is broadcasting live from Pyongyang: the DPRK media has not as yet reported on the launch failure.
Look for a few of the DPRK generals and the rocket scientists to disappear.
The Leaderboard: Sun Jianguo
3 hours ago