The rocket, seen by many as a banned test of long-range missile technology, was launched from North Korea early on Friday.
The U.S., Japan and South Korea say it flew only for a short time before breaking up and crashing into waters off the Korean peninsula.
North Korea said the aim of the launch was to put a satellite into orbit - a move marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il-sung, but there's no doubt that it was a disguised test of long-range missile technology banned under UN resolutions.
The rocket's failure must be an embarrassment for the North Korean leadership, but Japan's slow response in confirming the launch and alerting the public was also shameful.
The U.S. and South Korea issued official announcements swiftly after blastoff, but Japan, which depends on U.S. data, was slower.
Japan's government was also late for alerting the public at the time of Fukushima nuclear crisis last year.
How can we rely on the present government...?