North Korea has launched another missile and Japanese authorities set off an emergency alert system as a precaution as it headed toward the country. The missile is believed to have passed over Japan, landing near Hokkaido, Bloomberg reports, citing the Japanese public news network NHK.
The alert was issued about 6 a.m. local time. The Japanese military did not try to shoot down the missile, according to NHK. There have been no reports of damage, according to NHK. The missile broke into three pieces before landing in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of Hokkaido, NHK reports.
“It seems that DPRK missile passed over our airspace,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on NHK. Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, told NHK, “Nothing seemed have dropped on Japanese soil. We will be working with Korea and other nations, and gather information to secure the population of Japan.”
Japanese authorities said they are meeting to discuss the appropriate response. An emergency meeting was also called in South Korea, and the Pentagon in the U.S. said it is investigating the missile launch and working with American allies.
It is the first time North Korea has launched a ballistic missile over Japan, according to journalist Ankit Panda. In 1998 and 1999, the country launched SLV missiles over its neighbor.
The Pentagon said in a statement, “We assess North Korea conducted a missile launch within the last 90 minutes. We can confirm that the missile launched by North Korea flew over Japan. We are still in the process of assessing this launch. North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America. We are working closely with Pacific Command, Strategic Command and NORAD and will provide an update as soon as possible.”
The emergency alert warned residents in the northern part of Japan to take cover, according to CNBC. Several people in Japan tweeted screenshots of the government alert that appeared on their phones early Tuesday morning.
“A missile was fired from North Korea. Please evacuate to a sturdy building or basement,” the “J-Alert” read.
Announcements were also made through speakers in Hokkaido:
Other videos posted to YouTube and Twitter also captured the siren and emergency announcement:
The warning was directed at a “target area” of residents in Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunman, Niigata and Nagano.
North Korea launched three missiles on Saturday, August 26, in apparent test launches, CNN reported. Three short-range ballistic missiles were fired from the Kangwon province. The first and third missiles flew approximately 250 kilometers in a northeastern direction. The second missile blew up upon launch, CNN reported. Tuesday’s launch is the 13th of 2017.
The missile launches come as U.S., South Korean and Japanese troops take part in military exercises that typically raise tensions in the region. According to the Department of Defense, Monday was the final day of joint U.S.-Japanese training on Hokkaido.
“More than 3,500 Japanese and U.S. service members will conduct a bilateral and joint exercise showcasing their alliance’s defense capabilities on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, Aug. 10 to 28,” the Pentagon said in a press release. ”
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