North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan, residents of nearby buildings evacuated

Seoul: North Korea fired a medium-range ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, its neighbors said, escalating tests of weapons designed to hit key targets in regional US allies. It is North Korea’s most significant missile test since January, when it fired the Hwasong-12 medium-range missile capable of reaching the US territory of Guam.

It is also the first time a North Korean missile has flew over Japan since 2017.

The Japanese Prime Minister’s office said at least one missile fired from North Korea flew over Japan and reportedly landed in the Pacific Ocean.

Japanese authorities have issued a “J-alert” to residents in the northeastern regions to evacuate to nearby buildings, the first warning since 2017. The rocket appeared to have landed in the Pacific Ocean.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that “the shooting that followed a recent series of launches by North Korea is a reckless act and I strongly condemn it.” He said he will consult a National Security Council to discuss the situation.

Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said there are no immediate reports of damage following the missile launch from the north. He said the missile landed in waters outside the country’s exclusive economic zone after a 22-minute flight.

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff also said they had detected the launch of a so-called ballistic missile fired from the northern interior of the north. It said the South Korean military is strengthening its surveillance position and remains on standby in close cooperation with the United States.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said North Korea has launched a medium-range missile with a range of 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles). It’s a range that puts Guam at striking distance.

Yoon said he had convened a National Security Council meeting to discuss the launch and that the North’s “reckless nuclear provocations” would meet the stern response from the South and the wider international community.

The launch marks the fifth round of weapons tests by North Korea in the past 10 days in what was seen as a clear response to bilateral military exercises between South Korea and the United States and the other Allied training that Japan engaged in last week. . North Korea considers such exercises an invasion rehearsal.

The missiles fired during the past four rounds of launch have been at close range and fell into the waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan. Those missiles can hit targets in South Korea.

North Korea has fired about 40 missiles at about 20 different launch events this year, as its leader Kim Jong Un vows to expand its nuclear arsenal and refuses to return to nuclear diplomacy with the United States.

Some experts say Kim would eventually try to use his vast arsenal to pressure Washington into accepting his country as a nuclear state, a recognition he deems necessary to win the lifting of international sanctions and other concessions.

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