Japan has reacted furiously after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over northern parts of the country on Tuesday morning, triggering the J-Alert system to warn residents to take cover in sturdy buildings or underground.
Fumio Kishida, the Japanese prime minister, said firing a missile across Japanese territory was “outrageous” and “barbaric”.
The weapon, which analysts suggest may have been a nuclear-capable Hwasong-12 intercontinental ballistic missile, was detected being launched from North Korea’s Jagang Province at 7.22am local time (11.22pm BST on Monday) and crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 1,900 miles to the east of Japan, 22 minutes later.
Subsequent analysis of the missile’s trajectory indicates that it crossed Aomori Prefecture about one minute before travelling out into the Pacific. The missile flew about 4,000km (2,485 miles) at an altitude of about 1,000km.
Train operators across northern Japan temporarily halted services and the government issued warnings to both civilian aircraft operating in the region and ships off the north-east coast of Japan.
There have been no immediate reports of damage and Tokyo said it did not shoot down the missile as it was judged not to be a threat.
Nonetheless, the launch prompted a rare activation of Japan’s J-alert system, which appeared on TV screens showing the national broadcaster, NHK. The message warned citizens in two northern prefectures – Aomori and Hokkaido – and islands around Tokyo to seek shelter.
Read More: Japan tells citizens to take cover after North Korea launches ballistic missile