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      North Korea confirms rocket launch, calls it a success

      South Korea says North Korea has fired a long-range rocket in a defiant move just days ahead of South Korea's presidential election.

      North Korea confirmed the launch of a long-range rocket and is declaring it a success.

      Japan says North Korea has fired a rocket and debris landed in seas off the Korean Peninsula and the Philippines.

      Government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said the rocket was fired Wednesday morning but urged Japanese people to go on with their lives as normal. He protested against the launch, saying it was not something that should be allowed.

      Fujimura said debris landed west of the Korean Peninsula and east of the Philippines.

      It was the second rocket launch under leader Kim Jong Un. Kim took power following his father Kim Jong Il's death one year ago.

      It wasn't immediately clear if the rocket launch Wednesday morning succeeded. A similar launch in April broke apart shortly after liftoff.

      Officials at South Korea's Defense Ministry and its Joint Chiefs of Staff who confirmed the launch spoke anonymously because of department rules.

      The United Nations, Washington, Seoul and others condemned Pyongyang for the launches. Washington calls them a cover to test technology for missiles that could be used to strike the United States.