DPRK fires missile, Japan retracts take-cover warning
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired a ballistic missile of intermediate range or longer on Thursday, South Korea and Japan said, prompting an alert for residents in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido to take cover.
Japanese authorities later retracted the alert, saying an emergency warning system had made an erroneous prediction the missile would fall near the island.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan said his government would hold a National Security Council meeting on the launch.
Japan's defense minister, Yasukazu Hamada, said the missile appeared to have been fired eastward at a high angle. He said the missile did not fall in Japanese territory, and that the Defense Ministry was analyzing the launch for more details.
Japan's coast guard said the projectile had fallen in the sea to the east of the DPRK. Hamada said he could not confirm whether the missile flew over Japan's exclusive economic zone.
The launch came days after DPRK leader Kim Jong Un called for strengthening the country's war deterrence in a "more practical and offensive" manner to counter what Pyongyang called moves of aggression by the United States.
The missile was fired at 7:23 a.m. (2223 GMT on Wednesday) from near Pyongyang, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
The South Korean military said it was on high alert and coordinating closely with the United States.
The DPRK has criticized a recent series of joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, which it says have escalated tensions, and stepped up its weapons tests in recent months.
(Cover: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida comments on DPRK's missile launch in Tokyo, April 13, 2023. /CFP)