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Japan on high alert as North Korean missile launched into its airspace

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North Korea has fired a ballistic missile over Japan, prompting a warning for residents to take cover and a temporary suspension of train operations in northern Japan.

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South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Japanese coast guard reported on the missile test, which was launched on Tuesday off North Korea’s east coast.

The Japanese government warned citizens to take cover as the missile appeared to have flown over and past its territory before falling into the Pacific ocean. But it said it did not use any defence measures to destroy the missile.

TV Asahi, citing an unnamed government source, said North Korea might have fired an intercontinental ballistic missile and it fell into the sea some 3000 kilometres from Japan.

The latest launch was Pyongyang’s fifth in 10 days, amid military muscle-flexing by the United States and South Korea, which conducted trilateral anti-submarine exercises last week with Japanese naval forces.

South Korea staged its own show of advanced weaponry on Saturday to mark its Armed Forces Day, including multiple rocket launchers, ballistic missiles, main battle tanks, drones and F-35 fighters.

The test prompted East Japan Railway Co to suspend its train operations in the northern regions, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

The North has completed preparations for a nuclear test, which it might look to undertake sometime between China’s Communist Party Congress this month and US mid-term elections in November, South Korean lawmakers said last week.

 

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