North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Thursday that flew over Japanese territory, according to alerts in Japan, the second test flight in a month to fly over the country in a record year of missile testing by the nuclear-armed North.
The launch came a day after North Korea fired at least 23 missiles, the most in a single day, including one that landed off South Korea’s coast for the first time.
Residents of Miyagi, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures in central Japan were warned to seek shelter indoors, according to the J-Alert Emergency Broadcasting System
About 25 minutes after the launch was first reported, Japan’s Coast Guard said the missile had already fallen into the Pacific Ocean.
South Korea’s military also reported the missile launch, which was over North Korea’s east coast.
The Yonhap news agency reported the missile went through stage separation, suggesting it may be a long-range weapon.
After North Korea fired at least 23 missiles into the sea on Wednesday, including the one that landed less than 60 km off South Korea’s coast, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol described the launches as “territorial encroachment” and Washington denounced them as “reckless”.
South Korea issued rare air raid warnings and launched its own missiles in response after Wednesday’s barrage.
The launches came after Pyongyang demanded the United States and South Korea stop large-scale military exercises, saying such “military rashness and provocation can be no longer tolerated”.
The allies have been conducting one of the largest air exercises ever, with hundreds of South Korean and US warplanes, including F-35 fighters, staging around-the-clock simulated missions.