North Korea Launches Missile Over Japan

September 15, 2017

The Japanese military has said that a missile fired by North Korea flew over Hokkaido island early on Thursday, then plunged into the Pacific. The longest-ever flight from a North Korean rocket was a move in clear defiance of its rivals who recently pushed through a new raft of economic sanctions against Pyongyang at the UN Security Council.

Residents of Hokkaido described the terrifying wake-up call they faced as the missile flew overhead. Millions of citizens in earthquake-prone Japan were awakened by an emergency siren, and told to take cover via loudspeaker messages. "It's really scary. The government tells us to flee to stable buildings but we can't do that quickly. Our colleagues offshore can never take cover," said Yoichi Takahashi, 57, a fisheries official in Kushiro on Hokkaido, told French news agency Agence France-Presse.

"We can never tolerate that North Korea trampled on the international community's strong, united resolve toward peace that has been shown in UN resolutions and went ahead again with this outrageous act," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. According to the South Korean military, the unidentified missile reached an altitude of about 770 kilometers (480 miles) and flew 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles), which is far enough to reach the US island territory of Guam.

The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense said, however, that this latest launch posed no immediate threat to the island. Seoul said President Moon Jae-in had ordered officials to "closely analyze and prepare for new possible North Korean threats like EMP [electromagnetic pulse] and biochemical attacks." Although Pyongyang has said it was developing a hydrogen bomb that could carry out an EMP attack, analysts remain skeptical that the North has the sophisticated technological means and know-how to carry out such an assault.


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