Dr. J over at the ArmsControlWonk asked me to run down the Mainichi Shimbun article referenced in the first paragraph of AFP story from July 30, 2006. By the power of Greyskull and the wonder of Dow Jones's Factiva, I managed to track it down and the following rough translation (the original Japanese text has been attached to the comments section):
"Taepodong 2 drops off the coast of North Korea, 400 kilometers --> dozens of kilometers, complete failure"
* No Dong 2 and Scud 4 also tested -- Japanese Defense Agency report.
July 30, 2006
By Akitaka Furuhon
The Japanese Defense Agency (JDA) released an outline of a reconnaissance report concerning high-profile ballistic missile tests conducted in the vicinity of North Korea on July 29. Of the seven missiles tested, it concludes that the third missile, which has specifically classified as the two-stage Taepodong 2, was a complete failure. The 400 kilometer flight path estimated was revised to read "Only a few dozen miles off of the coast in North Korean waters." Of the remaining six missiles, report concluded that two were "No Dongs" and four where "Scuds."
The July report was the result of the JDA reconciling early information like missile trajectories seen by the Marine Self-Defense Forces' Aegis cruiser radars with later data from the U.S. military's ground-based radar.
The Taepodong 2 missile was launched from Musudanri in northeastern North Korean. Its first stage is newly designed booster and its second stage is a Nodong missile. At first, the missile appeared to have dropped into the ocean 350 kilometers north-north west of the coast of Niigata prefecture, which would have been a distance of 400 kilometers. The result of several data analyses, however, revised this distance based on the conclusion that the first stage burned out after 40 seconds and the second stage did not separate. The observed burn time of less than three minutes under normal operating conditions leads to the conclusion that test was a complete failure.
On the one hand, the report said "the probability that the missile's target was the Pacific Ocean is high," but it avoided specifics because the launch was far from normal.
The remaining six missiles were launched towards the northeast from Kittaeryong in southeastern North Korea and they were seen falling into the ocean about 400 miles away. The missile trajectories were not tracked long enough for accurate analysis, but the report ends it analysis by stating "the six launched missiles fell within dozens of kilometers of their range" without providing the actual impact sites.
Using the six missile's initial velocity and burn pattern, two were classified as No Dongs and the four others were classified as Scuds. Based on the trajectory analysis, the report judges that a new IRBM (Editor's Note: the Japanese author translates the acronym IRBM to 'submarine-launched medium range missile' -- like the Norks have subs large enough) currently in development was not included in the tests. The report does offer some minor specifics on the Scuds and ends with the observation that "it is possible that a new Scud design was included among the missiles tested."
(Editors's note: I am not very confident about my take on this next sentence) In regards to the launch procedures used by North Korea, Japanese and American intelligence agencies are waiting to see whether the tests are proclaimed a demonstration of North Korean power. The report also does not draw conclusions on North Korea's intent.
(Update: MTC was kind enough to translate the last paragraph correctly. By misinterpreting the meaning of "打ち上げ順序," I screwed the whole paragraph up -- my bad.)
As for the order of the missile firings, the intelligence agencies of both the U.S. and Japan have said, "It is really not in our best interest to reveal our capabilities." They defer on making a public statement. They will also not be confirming in a published report the mappings out of any of the missile firings.
Interesting stuff. Let me know what you think -- I'm going to weigh in on it sometime tomorrow.