North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, its neighbors said on Tuesday, escalating tests of weapons designed to strike key targets in regional U.S. allies amid stalled nuclear diplomacy.

The Japanese prime minister's office said at least one missile fired from North Korea flew over Japan and was believed to have landed in the Pacific Ocean.

The alert was issued by the authorities to residents in northeastern regions to evacuate buildings nearby in what was reportedly the first such alert in five years.

Trains were temporarily suspended in Japan's Hokkaido and Aomori regions before their operations were resumed later after a government notice that the North Korean missile appeared to have landed into the Pacific.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it also detected the launch of a ballistic missile that was fired toward the North's eastern waters. It gave no more details, such as how far the weapon flew.

The North Korean launch is the fifth round of weapons tests in the past 10 days in what was seen as an apparent response to military drills between South Korea and the United States. North Korea views such drills as an invasion rehearsal.

During the past four rounds of launches, the missiles fired were short-range and fell into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. They are capable of hitting targets in South Korea.