December 3, 2022

North Korea fires a missile over Japan, some residents warned to hide

North Korea fires a missile over Japan, some residents warned to hide

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years on Tuesday, sending residents sheltering and temporarily suspending train operations in northern Japan.

The Japanese government has warned citizens to take cover as the missile appears to have flown over and overtaken its territory before falling into the Pacific Ocean. It said it did not use any defensive measures to destroy the missile, the first to fly over or over Japan from North Korea since 2017.

“North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated launches of ballistic missiles, threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region and the international community, and pose a serious challenge to the entire international community, including Japan,” said Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu. Matsuno, said in a brief press conference.

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

Speaking to reporters shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called North Korea’s actions “barbaric” and said the government would continue to collect and analyze information.

The launch over Japan was “unfortunate,” Daniel Krettenbrink, the top US diplomat for East Asian affairs, said during an online event hosted by the Institute for Korean American Studies.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it appeared to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launched from North Korea’s Jagang Province. North Korea has used that province to launch several recent tests, including multiple missiles it claimed were “hypersonic”.

Asahi TV, citing an unnamed government source, said North Korea may have launched an ICBM that landed in the sea about 3,000 km from Japan.

Pay the test East Japan Railway Company (9020.T) Japan’s broadcaster NHK has reported that train operations have been suspended in northern regions. Matsuno said there were no reports of damage to aircraft or ships from the missile.

real world test

Analysts said North Korea’s wave of missile tests is helping to make more of its weapons operational, developing new capabilities, and sending a message that developing its weapons is a sovereign right that must be accepted by the world.

North Korea’s nuclear and missile weapons programs are prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions that have imposed sanctions on North Korea.

Many of North Korea’s ballistic missile tests are conducted on an “elevated trajectory,” which sends them high into space but leads to an impact point not far from the launch site, avoiding the flights of its neighbors.

Firing over or over Japan allows North Korean scientists to test missiles under more realistic conditions, said Ankit Panda of the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Compared to the usual very high trajectory, this allows them to expose a long-range reentry vehicle to thermal loads and atmospheric re-entry pressures that are more representative of the conditions they would withstand in the real world,” he said.

“Politically, it’s complicated: the missile pretty much flies out of the atmosphere when it’s over Japan, but it’s clearly distressing for the Japanese public to receive warnings of the possibility of a North Korean missile coming.”

The latest launch was Pyongyang’s fifth in 10 days, amid a display of military muscle by the United States and South Korea, which conducted a trilateral anti-submarine exercise last week with the Japanese navy.

South Korea on Saturday organized its own parade of advanced weapons to mark Armed Forces Day, including multiple launchers, ballistic missiles, main battle tanks, drones and F-35 fighters.

South Korean lawmakers said last week that North Korea had completed preparations for a nuclear test, which it may look to conduct sometime between this month’s Chinese Communist Party congress and the US midterm elections in November.

“So I think the very sensitive period leading up to the 20th Party Congress was not sensitive enough in Pyongyang to prevent or at least delay it,” John Delury of Yonsei University in Seoul said of Tuesday’s missile launch in a post. on Twitter.

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith in Seoul, Chang-Ran Kim and Kantaro Komiya in Tokyo; Writing by Josh Smith. Editing by Leslie Adler, Chris Reese, Lincoln Fest and Jerry Doyle

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.