All networks reported on North Korea’s firing of what appeared to be a ballistic missile this morning, saying that Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told reporters that the projectile was believed to have flown for about 500 km and fallen outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Defense Minister Kishi told reporters this morning that there had been no reports of damage to Japanese vessels or aircraft in the area. Kishi also reportedly added that the GOJ will examine all options, including possessing the capability to attack enemy bases, and fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense capability. Prime Minister Kishida told reporters at the Kantei this morning that he instructed officials to do their utmost to gather and analyze information and provide it promptly and accurately to the public.
According to NHK, the South Korean military announced that North Korea fired what was believed to be a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan at about 8:10 this morning and that it was analyzing the range and other details of the projectile together with U.S. forces. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency also reportedly said the North Korean military probably fired the projectile as part of its winter military exercise that began last month. NHK said that North Korea’s missile launch that came at the beginning of the year was probably aimed at keeping both the United States and South Korea in check. According to the network, this was North Korea’s first ballistic missile launch since Oct. 19.