North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Thursday, April 13, 2023, which triggered an alert in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, whose inhabitants were asked to take shelter.
“Evacuate immediately. Evacuate immediately,” the Japanese government ordered in a message, asking Hokkaido residents to take shelter in buildings or underground and specifying that the missile was due to fall around 8 a.m. local time (2300 GMT). The rocket ultimately did not fall on Japanese territory.
“Appears to be a ballistic missile.”
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing Seoul’s military, reported that North Korea launched an undetermined ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office tweeted, “North Korea has launched what appears to be a ballistic missile.”
The missile finally fell outside of Japan.
The ballistic missile fired “did not fall on Japanese territory,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida finally declared on Thursday after an alert was issued to call on the inhabitants of Hokkaido to take shelter.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters that the projectile, “probably an ICBM-class ballistic missile,” did not appear to have fallen into Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
North Korean tests are multiplying.
North Korea has stepped up weapons tests in recent months, heightening tension with Seoul and Washington, which have strengthened their military cooperation and carried out major joint maneuvers in the region.
On Monday, April 10, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for increasing his country’s deterrence capabilities to counter “the escalation of maneuvers by American imperialists and traitors, South Korean puppets to trigger a war of assault,” according to the official KCNA news agency.
Since March 23, Pyongyang has notably claimed to have carried out three tests of an underwater nuclear attack drone capable of “producing a large-scale radioactive tsunami.”
The regime also said it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on March 16.
Last year, North Korea declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power, thus burying any negotiations on its denuclearization.