North Korea long-range rocket broke apart in air after launch, U.S. official said.
The North Koreans have said the rocket was being used to launch a weather satellite into orbit.
Tokyo had threatened to shoot down the rocket if it appeared to be threatening its territory.
Countries including the United States and South Korea see the launch as a cover for a ballistic missile test. International leaders had urged North Korea to cancel the launch, but Pyongyang refused to back down, insisting the operation is for peaceful purposes.
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