Rupert Wingfield-Hayes & Nathan Williams, Tokyo
It has been announced that North Korea has launched a medium-range ballistic missile over Japan.
Due to the missile test, residents of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido were asked to hide in shelters and some train services were cancelled.
At 07:29 am local time, the Japanese government warned “North Korea appears to have launched a missile. Please hide in the bunkers”.
North Korea has not conducted missile tests over Japan since 2017.
The missile fell into the Pacific Ocean (Pacific Ocean), about 3000 km off east of Japan.
Japanese officials announced that the missile was cruising at an altitude of about 1000 km, and the missile, which hovered in the air for 22 minutes, covered a distance of about 4600 km.
This is enough distance to hit Guam, the US territory in the Pacific.
It was also stated that there were no injuries in the missile test.
There is a United Nations resolution that prohibits North Korea from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida harshly condemned Pyongyang’s move, describing it as a “violent act”. The Japanese government also called the Security Council to a meeting.
South Korean officials also announced that the missile was launched from the Jagang region of North Korea.
It is estimated that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un deliberately tried the missile to attract the attention of Japan and the United States.
However, it is completely against international norms to launch missiles towards or over another country without prior warning or consultation. Such attempts are in danger of being perceived as direct attacks and are considered provocative acts.
Daniel Kritenbrink, the top US diplomat in East Asia and the Pacific, described North Korea’s move as “unfortunate”.
The missile, which passed over Japanese territory and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, is Pyongyang’s fifth missile test in a week.
In September, North Korea enacted a law defining itself as a “nuclear state” and Kim Jong-un ruled out “denuclearization” talks.
Despite all international sanctions, Pyongyang conducted six nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017.