All papers reported in front- and inside-page articles that one of two ballistic missiles that North Korea fired yesterday from a location southwest of Pyongyang landed in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Akita Prefecture. The impact point of what appeared to be a Rodong medium-range missile was within Japan’s exclusive economic zone some 250 km west of Akita. The projectile flew about 1,000 km. PM Abe expressed strong displeasure over the latest DPRK provocation by saying: “This is reckless and unforgivable since it presents a serious threat to national security.”
Asahi wrote that at least 17 ballistic missiles have been launched by North Korea since the UN adopted a resolution to enhance sanctions in March, noting that the Kim regime appears to be determined to pursue the development of missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. Pointing out that Rodong is capable of targeting U.S. military installations in Japan, Yomiuri speculated that the latest launch may have been intended to display North Korea’s capability to dissuade the U.S. military in Japan from getting involved in a contingency on the Korean Peninsula.
Mainichi and Nikkei wrote that the GOJ was not able to issue an interception order this time because relevant countries apparently failed to detect signs of an imminent launch because the missile was apparently fired from a “transporter erector launcher.” Mainichi projected that calls may grow in Japan for the early introduction of a ground-based THAAD missile defense platform since the system can intercept incoming projectiles around the clock.