Saturday, there was no sign of the launch of a North Korean long-range rocket at the end of the first day of the five-day time frame.

South Korean officials widely speculated that poor weather conditions around the Musudan-ri launch pad would have forced Pyongyang to delay the launch, reports said.

According to a report by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, North Korea's state media had reported that relatively strong winds were blowing on the northeast coast, the location marked for the rocket launch. Earlier, the state media had reported that everything was ready and the launch would take place soon.

The Korean Central News Agency had reported that preparation for the launch of Kwangmyongsong-2, an experimental communications satellite, by the carrier Unha-2 was complete, adding that the satellite will be launched soon.

North Korea had said the blast off would take place in the days between April 4 and April 8 during 9 p. m. to 7 a. m. ET or 0200 to 0700 GMT.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government had released a statement on Saturday saying North Korea had launched a rocket, but retracted it later saying the information was incorrect.

The rocket is expected to pass over Japan. The Japanese government has deployed missile interceptors on the rocket's path and said it will shoot down any debris that threatens its territory.

North Korea has warned Japan against any slightest effort made to intercept its rocket, saying it will respond with an attack on major targets in Japan. The U.S. has maintained that it will not shoot down the rocket, but has deployed missile destroyers in the Sea of Japan along with the Japanese.

North Korea's neighbors and the U. S. allege that the country is not launching a rocket, but testing a new long-range missile, widely believed to be the Taepodong-2.

The Taepodong-2, which has the ability to strike Alaska and Hawaii, was first test-fired in July 2006, when the missile exploded shortly after launch. Countries including the U. S. had urged North Korea not to proceed with the latest rocket launch plan.

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