18 June, 2024
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Japan triggers emergency evacuations as North Korea fires more ballistic missiles

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Japan has reacted furiously after a missile fired from North Korea caused widespread panic in Japan and triggered an emergency public broadcast urging residents to seek shelter.

The Japanese government said the missile appeared to be tracking to fly over Japan and sparked evacuation warnings in the northern Miyagi, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures.

The warnings were later downgraded when it became apparent the missile had stopped short.

“We detected a launch that had showed the potential to fly over Japan, and therefore triggered the J-Alert,” Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada told a news conference.

“But, after checking the flight, we confirmed that it had not passed over Japan.”

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was fuming over North Korea’s latest hostilities, telling reporters: “North Korea’s repeated missile launches are an outrage and absolutely cannot be forgiven.”

It comes a day after North Korea fired at least 23 missiles — the most in a single day — including one that landed off South Korea’s coast for the first time, causing Seoul to fire back its own missiles.

North Korea followed up by firing multiple ballistic missiles, including the one Japan suspected of being an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Officials in South Korea and Japan said the missile might have been an intercontinental ballistic missile, which are North Korea’s longest-range weapons and are designed to carry a nuclear warhead to the other side of the planet.

North Korea also launched at least two short-range missiles.

 

South Korea’s Vice-Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman strongly condemned North Korea’s series of missile launches as “deplorable, immoral” during a phone call on Thursday, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

After the first launch on Thursday, residents of Miyagi, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures in Japan were warned to seek shelter indoors, according to the J-Alert Emergency Broadcasting System.

Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada later said the government had lost track of that missile over the Sea of Japan, prompting it to correct its earlier announcement that it had flown over Japan.

The first missile flew to an altitude of about 2000 kilometres and a range of 750km, he said. Such a flight pattern is called a “lofted trajectory”, in which a missile is fired high into space to avoid flying over neighbouring countries.

About half an hour after the launch was first reported, Japan’s Coast Guard said the missile had fallen.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the long-range missile was launched from near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

“Since there is a possibility that one of the missiles launched this time may have been an ICBM, I have once again instructed the Defense Ministry to collect and analyze the information,” Mr Kishida told reporters.

About an hour after the first launch, South Korea’s military and the Japanese coast guard reported a second and third launch from North Korea. South Korea said both of those were short-range missiles fired from Kaechon, north of Pyongyang.

After North Korea’s launches on Wednesday, including one missile that landed less than 60km off South Korea’s coast, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol described the flights as “territorial encroachment” and Washington denounced them as “reckless”.

South Korea issued rare air raid warnings and launched its own missiles in response after Wednesday’s barrage.

The launches came after Pyongyang demanded the United States and South Korea stop large-scale military exercises, saying such “military rashness and provocation can be no longer tolerated”.

It has said before that a recent flurry of missile launches and other military activities were in protest of those drills.

Seoul and Washington say the drills are defensive, and are needed to counter the North’s threats.

– AAP

The post Japan triggers emergency evacuations as North Korea fires more ballistic missiles appeared first on The New Daily.

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