Japan activated its emergency alert system on Thursday morning after North Korea launched a suspected ballistic missile. The missile flew over Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, and fell into the Pacific Ocean.
“North Korea has launched a suspected ballistic missile,” the Japanese prime minister’s office said. “PM’s instructions: 1. Dedicate maximum effort to gather & analyze information, & provide the public speedy & adequate information. 2. Ensure the safety of aircraft, vessels, & other assets. 3. Take all possible measures for precaution, incl. readiness for contingencies.”
About half an hour after the alert, the government canceled the alert, writing: “It is expected that the missile reported earlier will not come to Japan.”
The news comes on the heels of Japan signalingat the start of the week that it would begin shooting down missiles fired into its territory.
“We will take destructive measures against ballistic and other missiles that are confirmed to land in our territory,” Japan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Missile launches are now becoming common from North Korea as dictator Kim Jong Un likes to engage in frequent saber rattling.
North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the waters off the Korean Peninsula back in late March, according to CNN, just as the U.S. and South Korea were conducting their largest joint military exercises in the region since 2017.
National Security Council spokesperson Adam Hodge condemned the launch, saying it “raises tensions, and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond.”
“This claimed space launch involved technologies that are directly related to the DPRK intercontinental ballistic missile program. The President and his national security team are assessing the situation in close coordination with our allies and partners,” he said.
“We urge all countries to condemn this launch and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations. The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its provocative actions and instead choose engagement. The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and the defense of our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies.”
PM’s instructions (06:32)
1. Dedicate maximum effort to gather & analyze information, & provide the public speedy & adequate information.
2. Ensure the safety of aircraft, vessels, & other assets.
3. Take all possible measures for precaution, incl. readiness for contingencies.
— PM's Office of Japan (@JPN_PMO) May 30, 2023