North Korea launched a missile over Japan on Monday in what appeared to be the belligerent country’s latest display of resentment toward a joint U.S.-South Korean missile drill that is currently underway, marking the next level of provocation in the already-tense region.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe characterized the missile test as an unprecedented move that presents a grave security threat to Japan, CNBC reported. He also indicated that he would petition the United Nations to up the pressure on North Korea to prevent any similar moves in the future.
The Japanese government initially warned that a missile was headed for the country’s northern Tohoku region, but the projectile eventually broke into three pieces and fell into the sea. Residents were urged to take refuge in solid buildings or underground shelters in case another launch occurred.
“This ballistic missile launch appeared to fly over our territory,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. “It is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat to our nation.”
Suga labeled the launch an unequivocal violation of United nations resolutions and vowed that Japan would work with the United States, South Korea, and other ally nations to forge an appropriate response.
“We’ll take utmost efforts to protect the public,” Abe said shortly after the launch.
Authorities in South Korea have also gone on high alert in the wake of the launch, with the South Korean government convening a national security council meeting on Monday morning. As of yet, no evacuation order has been issued.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined that the missile would not reach North America, but the launch could prompt increased censure from President Donald Trump, who already promised that Pyongyang’s threats would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”