North Korea fired another missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Friday morning, just a day after Pyongyang threatened that the four main Japanese islands “should be sunken into the sea” by its nuclear bomb.
This was the second time in less than three weeks that North Korea sent a projectile over Japan, and the missile firing immediately sparked angry reactions in Tokyo and Seoul.
The missile was launched from the Sunan airfield just north of Pyongyang about 6:30 a.m. local time, Friday morning, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. It flew for 17 minutes, passing over Hokkaido and landing some 1,200 miles to the east in the Pacific Ocean.
The launch immediately triggered emergency alerts in Japan, with text messages and loud speakers telling residents along the missile’s potential flight path to seek shelter.
The Japanese government warned people not to approach any debris or other suspicious-looking material, a reflection of the fact that North Korean missiles sometimes break up in flight.
It comes as North Korea threatened to nuke Japan and reduce the US ‘to ashes and darkness’ in response to the latest sanctions imposed by the UN.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, condemned the latest launch and reiterated that Japan would “not tolerate” North Korea’s actions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had asked his government to “prepare for any contingency,” but Japan did not try to shoot down the missile.
‘Japan can never tolerate this repeated provocative action by North Korea,’ Tokyo’s government spokesman told reporters, adding that the country will make an appropriate response.
‘We have strongly protested to the North, telling them the strong anger by the Japanese people and condemn with the strongest words possible.’
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said he believes the latest test was of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).