Date
19 September 2017
Japan Self-Defense Forces soldiers take part in a drill to mobilise their missile unit in response to a recent missile launch by North Korea. Photo: Reuters
Japan Self-Defense Forces soldiers take part in a drill to mobilise their missile unit in response to a recent missile launch by North Korea. Photo: Reuters

North Korea fires missile over Japan

North Korea fired a missile early on Tuesday that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific waters off the northern region of Hokkaido, South Korea and Japan said, in a sharp escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, Reuters reports.

The last North Korean projectile to fly over Japan was in 2009. The United States, Japan and South Korea considered that launch to have been a ballistic missile test while North Korea said it was a rocket carrying a communications satellite into orbit.

South Korea’s military said the latest missile was launched from the Sunan region near the North Korean capital Pyongyang just before 6 a.m. local time and flew 2,700 km., reaching an altitude of about 550 km.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the North Korean missile fell into the sea 1,180 km. east of the Cape of Erimo on Hokkaido.

“It is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat to our nation,” Suga told a briefing, adding the government had protested the move in the strongest terms.

Suga said the launch was a clear violation of United Nations resolutions and Japan will work closely with the United States, South Korea and other concerned nations on a response, he said.

The Japanese government’s J-Alert warning system advised people in the area to take precautions.

The Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which passed over Japanese territory around 6:06 a.m. local time 

The Pentagon confirmed the missile flew over Japan but did not pose a threat to North America and said it was gathering further information.

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