Japan lifts evacuation warning, says N Korea missile ‘passed into Pacific’


The Japanese government urged residents in the southern region of Okinawa to take shelter after North Korea fired a missile late Tuesday.

“Missile launch. Missile launch. It appears that the missile was launched from North Korea. Please evacuate inside the building or underground,” the office of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said via X.

Later the Japanese government lifted that evacuation warning for residents in the southern region of Okinawa late Tuesday after a missile from North Korea passed over.

“Missile passed. Missile passed. The missile is believed to have passed into the Pacific Ocean around 22:55 (1355 GMT). The call for evacuation is being cancelled,” the office of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said via X.

North Korea on Tuesday made an apparent third attempt to place a military spy satellite into orbit, South Korea’s military said. The launch marks the latest demonstration of North Korea‘s determination to build a space-based surveillance system during protracted tensions with the United States.

The launch came earlier than expected, as North Korea had on Tuesday informed Japan that it would launch a satellite between Wednesday and December 1.

It wasn’t immediately known whether the launch was successful. But it is certain to invite strong condemnation from the United States and its partners because the U.N. bans North Korea from conducting satellite launches, calling them covers for tests of missile technology.

No further details were immediately available from Seoul, but Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office initially issued a J-Alert missile warning for Okinawa late Tuesday, saying North Korea fired a possible missile. It urged residents to take shelter inside buildings or underground. Within 10 minutes, the office said on X, formerly Twitter, that the missile had passed into the Pacific Ocean, saying it was lifting the earlier advisory.

The office, however, urged residents to stay away from any suspicious objects and to report anything to police or fire departments.

A spy satellite is among the key military assets coveted by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who wants to modernize his weapons systems to cope with what he calls escalating U.S. threats. North Korea attempted to launch a spy satellite twice earlier this year, but both launches ended in failure due to technical issues.

North Korea had vowed a third launch would take place sometime in October. But it didn’t follow through with that launch plan without giving any reason. South Korean officials have said the delay occurred likely because North Korea was receiving Russian technological assistance for its spy satellite launch program.

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Updated: 21 Nov 2023, 08:52 PM IST

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