North Korea Launches 2 Missiles, Likely into Japan’s EEZ

REUTERS file photo
A North Korean flag

North Korea launched at least two ballistic missiles eastward from near its western coast around 7:30 p.m., the Japanese Defense Ministry said Thursday. Both missiles were likely to have fallen into the Sea of Japan within Japan’s exclusive economic zone northwest of Hegura Island in Ishikawa Prefecture.

No damage to aircraft or ships has been confirmed.

The first missile was fired at around 7:24 p.m. and fell into the sea about 250 kilometers northwest of the island at around 7:35 p.m. The second was fired at around 7:36 p.m. and fell into the sea at around 7:47 p.m. near where the first missile hit.

Both missiles seem to have flown on an irregular trajectory that would make them difficult to intercept, leading the ministry to conduct a detailed analysis. Their flight range is estimated to have been somewhere in the range of 850 to 900 kilometers, and they are estimated to have reached an altitude of about 50 kilometers. The launches are believed to be North Korea’s attempt to express opposition to Thursday’s meeting of Japanese, U.S. and South Korean high-ranking security officials in Tokyo.

 Immediately after the launches, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed relevant authorities to make every possible effort to gather and analyze information, promptly inform the public with accurate information and thoroughly prepare for unforeseen circumstances.

Additionally, a special meeting of the National Security Council was held to discuss future measures, and the government lodged a stern protest with North Korea via its embassy in Beijing.

“This is an outrageous act that violates relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and escalates provocations against the international community as a whole,” Kishida told reporters Thursday evening at the Prime Minister’s Office.

 Thursday’s missile launches were said to be separate from the launch of a military reconnaissance satellite for which North Korea has given advance notice.