North Korea has "appeared" to launch a ballistic missile towards Japan, officials say.
In a tweet, Japan's Ministry of Defence said: "A possible ballistic missile was launched from North Korea.
"We will let you know as soon as we have further news."
The official Twitter account of Japan's Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, added: "A projectile that appears to be a North Korean ballistic missile has likely flown over Japan."
Vessels have reportedly been told that they should not approach any falling objects and report relevant information to the Japan Coast Guard.
Meanwhile, it was reported earlier today that a malfunctioning South Korean ballistic missile blew up during a live-fire drill with the US which was a reprisal for North Korea’s successful launch a day earlier of a weapon that flew over Japan.
The missile fired by Pyongyang yesterday had the range to strike the US territory of Guam.
Image:AFP via Getty Images)
The explosion and subsequent fire from the South Korean missile today panicked and confused residents of the coastal city of Gangneung, who were already uneasy over the increasingly provocative weapons tests by rival North Korea.
Their concern that it could be a North Korean attack only grew as the military and government officials provided no explanation about the explosion for hours.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said no injuries have been reported from the explosion, which involved a short-range Hyumoo-2 missile that crashed inside an air force base in the outskirts of the city. It said the crash did not affect any civilian facilities.
During the same drill, the US military launched four of its own missiles that are part of the Army Tactical Missile System and South Korea fired another Hyumoo-2 successfully.
The US and South Korean militaries are conducting the joint exercises to show their ability to deter a North Korean attack on the South. In addition to missile launches, they involved bombing runs by F-15 strike jets using precision munitions.
North Korea’s successful launch of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile hours before the drills was the country’s most provocative weapons demonstration since 2017 and was its fifth round of weapons tests in 10 days.
That missile has a range capable of striking Guam, which is home to one of the largest military facilities maintained by the US in Asia. North Korea in 2017 also tested missiles capable of hitting the continental United States.
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