North Korea Launches Its First Ballistic Missile over Japan in 5 Years

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that North Korea had launched a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years, triggering a warning for residents to seek shelter and the temporary stoppage of rail operations in northern Japan.

The Japanese government notified citizens to take cover after the missile appeared to have flown over and past its territory before crashing into the Pacific Ocean.

It was the first time since 2017 that a North Korean missile flew in this way, and Tokyo said that its range of 4,600 km (2,850 miles) may have been the longest for a North Korean test flight. Normally, North Korean test flights are “lofted” higher into space to avoid flying over neighboring countries.

Tokyo denied taking any action to intercept the missile. Yasukazu Hamada, Japan’s Minister of Defense, has stated that his country will not rule out any options as it seeks to strengthen its defenses in the face of repeated missile launches from North Korea, including the use of counterattack capabilities.

Shortly afterwards, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that North Korea’s actions were “barbaric,” and that the government would continue to gather and analyze information.