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North Korea Fires Its Longest-Range Ballistic Missile Over Japan

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North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile off its east coast on Tuesday. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Japanese coast guard, the nuclear-armed country fired a missile over Japan for the first time since 2017.

Japan issued an alert for the residents to evacuate the surrounding area and take cover. The Japanese coast guard also warned Navy vessels to stay on alert as it flew over its territory before falling into the Pacific Ocean. The missile test, the fifth in 10 days, was part of North Korea’s ongoing military drills.

The Japanese government said the missile’s 4,600 km (2,850 miles) range might have been the highest distance traveled. These flights are typically launched higher into orbit to avoid passing over nearby nations.

North Korea’s missile tests have recently picked up the pace along with South Korea, Japan, and the US, which also conducted anti-submarine drills for the first time in five years on Friday.

During her visit to Seoul last week, US Vice President Kamala Harris reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to assisting South Korea in its fight with the North.

The government confirmed that it took no steps to shoot the missile down. However, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said that Japan would be ready to use all mechanisms, including counterattack capabilities, as it plans to use counterattack capabilities in the wake of repeated missile launches from North Korea. South Korea also said it would boost its military and increase allied cooperation.

The decision to fire a long-range ballistic missile over Japan was described as “dangerous and reckless” by the United States, which vehemently denounced it.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea (JCS) reported that it looked to have been an IRBM launched from the Jagang Province of North Korea. Recently, North Korea has conducted several tests from that region, including the firing of numerous missiles it claimed to be “hypersonic.”

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