North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

Published October 5, 2022
A woman walks past a public television screen in Tokyo on October 4, 2022, displaying file footage of North Korean missile launches during a broadcast about an early morning North Korean missile launch which prompted an evacuation alert when it flew over northeastern Japan. — AFP
A woman walks past a public television screen in Tokyo on October 4, 2022, displaying file footage of North Korean missile launches during a broadcast about an early morning North Korean missile launch which prompted an evacuation alert when it flew over northeastern Japan. — AFP

SEOUL: North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years on Tuesday, prompting Tokyo to activate its missile alert system and issue a rare warning for people to take shelter.

The latest launch — which the US branded “reckless and dangerous” — comes in a record year of sanctions-busting weapons tests by North Korea, which recently revised its laws to declare itself an “irreversible” nuclear power.

US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minis­ter Fumio Kishida both condemned the test firing, the White House said after a call between the two.

Biden also reiterated the US’ “ironclad commitment to Japan’s defe­nce,” the statement said.

South Korea said the intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) flew some 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) — possibly a new distance record for North Korean tests, which are usually conducted on a lofted trajectory to avoid flying over neighbouring countries.

Later on Tuesday, South Korean and US fighter jets carried out a “precision bombing drill” in response, Seoul’s military said, with South Korean F-15Ks dropping joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs) at a target in the Yellow Sea.

On the same day, eight Japanese and four US fighter jets carried out a joint drill in airspace west of the country’s Kyushu region, according to Japan’s Joint Staff.

Japanese Defence Minis­ter Yasukazu Hamada said the missile could have been a Hwasong-12.

Japan activated its missile warning system and urged people in two northern regi­ons of the country to take shelter early Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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