North Korean missile flies over Japan, Pentagon says

KCNA via AFP/Getty Images
KCNA via AFP/Getty Images

(Via ABC News)

North Korea has fired a missile that flew over Japan, the Pentagon confirmed.

“We assess North Korea conducted a missile launch within the last 90 minutes,” Col. Rob Manning, the director of press operations at the Department of Defense, said Monday evening in a statement. “We can confirm that the missile launch by North Korea flew over Japan. We are in the process of assessing this launch.

“North American Aerospsace Defense Command, or NORAD, determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America. We are working closely with Pacific Command, Strategic Command and NORAD, and we’ll provide an update as soon as possible,” he added.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe briefly addressed the launch, saying the country will be collecting more information, according to NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization.

The missile, which was launched early Tuesday local time, landed in the ocean, said Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief Cabinet secretary, NHK reported.

“Nothing seemed have dropped on Japanese soil,” Suga said.

“We will be working with Korea and other nations and gather information to secure the population of Japan,” he added, according to NHK. It was the 13th launch by North Korea this year.

NHK reported the Japanese government issued a warning to people living in northern prefectures to take cover near strong structures after reports of the launch.

North Korean ballistic missiles have passed Japanese airspace at least four times in the past.

The last time a North Korea missile passed over Japanese airspace was February 2016, over islands in south Japan. At that time, North Korea said it was launching a satellite, the same explanation the country gave on two other occasions in 2012 and 2009.

North Korea also fired a two-stage ballistic missile over Japan in 1998, offering no explanation at the time.

On Friday, North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles, one of which failed in flight.