Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years on Tuesday, prompting a warning for residents to take cover and a temporary suspension of train operations in northern Japan.
According to Yahoo News, The Japanese government warned citizens to take cover as the missile appeared to have flown over and past its territory before falling into the Pacific Ocean. It said it did not use any defence measures to destroy the missile, which was the first to fly over or past Japan from North Korea since 2017.
“North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, and poses a serious challenge to the entire international community, including Japan,” Japan’s top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno, told a news conference.
He said the missile flew 4,600 kilometres (2,850 miles) to a maximum altitude of 1,000 km. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it appeared to have been an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launched from North Korea’s Jagang Province. North Korea has used that province to launch several recent tests, including multiple missiles that it claimed were “hypersonic.”
The test prompted East Japan Railway Co to suspend train operations in the northern regions, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported. Matsuno said there were no reports of damage to aircraft or ships from the missile.
The initial flight details announced by South Korea and Japan suggest the missile may have been the Hwasong-12 IRBM, which North Korea unveiled in 2017 as part of its threatened plan to strike Guam, said Kim Dong-yup, a former South Korea Navy officer who now teaches at Kyungnam University. The Hwasong-12 was used in 2017 tests that overflew Japan, and Kim noted it was also test fired from Jagang Province in January.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile appeared to have been an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launched from North Korea’s Jagang Province. North Korea has used that province to launch several recent tests, including multiple missiles that it claimed were ‘hypersonic.’ TV Asahi, citing an unnamed government source, said North Korea might have fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and it fell into the sea some 3,000 km (1,860 miles) from Japan.
South Korea staged its own show of advanced weaponry on Saturday to mark its Armed Forces Day, including multiple rocket launchers, ballistic missiles, main battle tanks, drones, and F-35 fighters. The test prompted East Japan Railway Co to suspend its train operations in the northern regions, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.
The North has completed preparations for a nuclear test, which it might look to undertake sometime between China’s Communist Party Congress this month and US mid-term elections in November, South Korean lawmakers said last week.