Japan issues evacuation order after North Korea fired a ballistic missile at Hokkaido
North Korea launched a ballistic weapon from the Pyongyang region on Thursday morning April 13. Japanese authorities issued evacuation warnings to Hokkaido residents.
Japan’s defense ministry stated that North Korea launched an ICBM from a high angle at 7:22 a.m. (KST) and initially warned that it would land near Hokkaido at 8 a.m.
Japanese authorities issued a “correction,” stating that the missile was not a threat to residents and that it had not landed in the country’s exclusive economy zone (EEZ).
Tokyo stated that the missile had landed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), just before 8:19 AM. This means it was in the air for less than an hour.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) agreed the missile was launched at “a vertical angle” from the Pyongyang area around 7:23 a.m. and that it flew around 621 miles (1,000 km) before splashing down. Seoul called it an “intermediate- or longer-range ballistic missile.”
Nuclear envoys of the U.S., South Korea, and Japan “strongly condemned” the launch and called it a “provocation,” according to a readout of a remote meeting on Thursday morning between Sung Kim, Kim Gunn, and Takehiro Funakoshi.
Military officials from the three countries are also scheduled to discuss “DPRK nuclear and missile threats and concrete ways to enhance trilateral defense cooperation” at Defense Trilateral Talks (DTT) in Washington on Friday.
The White House National Security Council said in a statement Thursday that the launch “needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing” regional security, and that North Korea is neglecting “the well-being of its people” by focusing on missile development.
“The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions and instead choose diplomatic engagement,” NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said.
Thursday’s launch appears to be North Korea’s first in over two weeks and comes as Pyongyang has not responded to routine inter-Korean military hotline calls for seven days, according to Seoul.