North Korea’s missile launch over Japan “put millions of Japanese into duck and cover” mode, said US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The launch triggered an alert in Japan as it flew through the country’s airspace before landing in the Pacific Ocean.
Following the incident, top US officials coordinated fully and immediately made the necessary “calls,” Mattis told reporters traveling with him during a visit to the US Strategic Command.
“We have just got done with the calls we always make to coordinate among ourselves. Steady as she goes,” Mattis said as cited by Reuters.
As the projectile passed over Japanese airspace near Hokkaido at around 7.06am local time, the government’s J Alert warning system, through TV, radio and loudspeakers, urged residents of Hokkaido and Tohoku to seek shelter.
The US military detected the launch of a single North Korean intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) from Sunan in Pyongyang at 11:57am Hawaii time (5:57 pm EDT / 9:57pm GMT), Reuters reported.
According to the US Pacific Command, the missile did not pose any threat to the US mainland or the US Pacific territory of Guam, spokesman Dave Benham said.
Japan and South Korea denounced Pyongyang’s test launch as a provocative action that raises regional tensions and urged a firm response. The United Nations Security Council will reportedly meet Friday at the request of the United States and Japan to discuss the issue.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said “these continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation.” On Monday, the 15-member UNSC unanimously approved the 9th round of sanctions against Pyongyang, targeting its textile exports and oil imports.