North Korea Launches Its Seventh Ballistic Missile Over Japan

October 04, 2022

By: Mariah Fritz

(Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)

Early on Tuesday morning, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, the Japanese Ministry of Defense confirmed.

In response to the missile test, the U.S. and South Korea have “conducted a joint strike package flight and precision bombing drill”, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff’s statement to ABC news. 

The Japanese government advised all citizens to take cover in basements or strong buildings through their “J-alert” emergency warning system. A government spokesperson of Japan reported that the country didn’t attempt to shoot the missile down because it wasn’t seen as a major threat.

According to ABC news, this is the seventh launch of a North Korean missile that has flown over Japan, with the previous missile being launched in August 2017. “North Korea has shot 21 ballistic missiles and two cruise missiles since January,” ABC news reported, “a record-breaking number of launches in a single year. Tuesday's launch was the country's fifth missile test in just over a week.”

“We ask that people return to life as usual, calmly,” The Japanese government’s chief spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said to reporters at a press conference. The people of Japan have been warned not to interact with any debris. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office members gathered with other government officials to assess the situation.

A government spokesperson confirmed that currently, no damage had been reported and the search through debris will continue. Japanese officials will work with South Korea and the U.S. to gather all information about the missile launch. “North Korea's actions threaten Japan and the international community," the spokesperson said. "Missile launches like this go against the U.N. resolutions. Japan will launch a strong protest against North Korea in light of this. All new information will be shared promptly."

"The United States strongly condemns the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) dangerous and reckless decision to launch a long-range ballistic missile over Japan." The White House said late Monday in a statement. White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson received details from a conversation between the U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Japanese and South Korean counterparts on Monday night. "In both calls, the National Security Advisors consulted on appropriate and robust joint and international responses," Watson said, "and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reinforced the United States' ironclad commitments to the defense of Japan and the ROK [South Korea]."

ABC News reported that North Korea has recently passed a law “declaring its readiness to launch preemptive nuclear strikes.” They continue on to say that analysts have “warned that the country may seek to reaffirm its nuclear weapons state status and is prepping for a seventh nuclear test.”

Jaechun Kim, professor of international relations at South Korea's Sogang University, gave a strong idea for the U.S., Korea, and Japan’s plans for response, saying: “A unified front must be established that imposes sanctions on North Korea, as they did on Russia. This is the only way to penalize North Korea for its bad behavior.”