The following is the gist of comments made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Defense Minister Tomomi Inada to reporters and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s remarks at his news conference on North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile:
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
North Korea has launched another ballistic missile despite the international community’s strong warning. This is absolutely unacceptable. This constitutes a serious threat to Japan and a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions. It is possible that North Korea may engage in further provocations. Japan will cooperate with the U.S. and the ROK and maintain a high level of vigilance. It will take all possible steps to ensure the people’s safety.
The Japanese and ROK foreign ministers have spoken on the phone, and National Security Secretariat chief Shotaro Yachi held a teleconference with U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. We will cooperate not only with the U.S. and the ROK, but also with China, Russia, and the international community to strongly demand that North Korea abide by UN resolutions.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga
North Korea fired a ballistic missile in the east-northeast direction from a site near Kusong on its west coast at 5:28 a.m. on May 14. The missile is estimated to have flown approximately 800 kilometers in about 30 minutes, landing in the Sea of Japan at a location approximately 400 kilometers east of the Korean Peninsula.
It is reckoned that the spot where the missile landed is not within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). There have not been any reports of damage to aircraft or ships. A comprehensive analysis will be required (to determine the type and other specifics of the missile). A detailed analysis is currently being undertaken.
Prime Minister Abe has issued orders to exert utmost efforts to collect and analyze information and to provide accurate information to the people promptly. He also issued instructions at the National Security Council to cooperate with the international community in responding to this development. The government has lodged a strong protest with North Korea through the Japanese embassy in Beijing.
The J-Alert system for nationwide simultaneous emergency warning was not used because it was judged that the missile was unlikely to land in Japan.
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada
Considering this latest missile is estimated to have flown for around 30 minutes at an altitude of over 2,000 kilometers, it might have been a new type of ballistic missile. This is the first time for a North Korean missile to fly at an altitude of over 2,000 kilometers, so it is reckoned that it might have been launched on a “lofted trajectory” (a higher altitude than usual so that it will land at a distance shorter than its maximum range).