North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, prompting a warning for residents to take cover and a temporary suspension of train operations in northern Japan.
South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff and the Japanese coast guard reported on the missile test, which was launched off North Korea’s east coast.
Japan’s government warned citizens to take cover as the missile appeared to have flown over and past its territory before falling into the Pacific Ocean. But it said it did not use any defence measures to destroy the missile.
TV Asahi, citing an unnamed government source, said North Korea might have fired an intercontinental ballistic missile and it fell into the sea some 3,000 kilometres from Japan.
It said authorities have issued an alert to residents in northeastern regions to evacuate buildings nearby in what was reportedly the first such alert in five years.
The latest launch was Pyongyang’s fifth in 10 days, amid military muscle-flexing by the United States and South Korea, which conducted trilateral anti-submarine exercises last week with Japanese naval forces.
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.
Trains were temporarily suspended in Japan’s Hokkaido and Aomori regions before their operations were resumed later after a government notice that the North Korean missile appeared to have landed into the Pacific.
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 U.S. mid-term elections in November, South Korean lawmakers said last week.