A ballistic missile launched by North Korea on Saturday was apparently an ICBM ICBM that crashed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Japanese government said.
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“It appears that the ballistic missile launched by North Korea fell in Japan’s EEZ west of Hokkaido,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.
Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno later clarified that it appeared to be an ICBM-class intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew for about 66 minutes.
He said the projectile traveled a distance of about 900 km, reached a maximum altitude of 5,700 km and appeared to have fallen at 18:27 Japanese time (0927 GMT).
Mr. Matsuno affirmed a journalist’s question as to whether the missile had followed a “raised” trajectory and explained that the possibility that it was a solid fuel missile would be analyzed.
“This series of actions by North Korea threatens the peace and stability of Japan and the international community and is absolutely unforgivable,” Matsuno added.
He said Japan protested “through diplomatic channels.”
Tokyo “will respond by closely coordinating with the international community, including the United States and South Korea, through the ongoing G7 foreign ministers meeting and the United Nations Security Council,” Matsuno said again.
Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Ino earlier said the missile would land about 200 km west of Oshima Island, off the northern island of Hokkaido, around 6:27 p.m. Japanese time (09:27 GMT).
Mr. Kishida explained that he “ordered (Japanese officials) to inform the population and to conduct a thorough review of the security situation.”
“This is an escalation of provocations against the international community as a whole and we have of course strongly protested against it,” he added.
Last November, another missile fired from Pyongyang in a series of launches with unprecedented intensity also reportedly impacted Japan’s EEZ.
Japan’s EEZ extends up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from its shores.