North Korea has fired a ballistic missile that passed over Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters early Tuesday.
A South Korean military official told NBC News that the projectile was fired around 5:57 a.m. local time on Tuesday. U.S. Pacific Command projected that the missile will splash down at 6:29 a.m. local time.
Although North Korea has sent a missile over Japan once before – in 1998 – this launch comes at a time of heightened tensions. Pyongyang has been threatening to fire a missile over Japan and into the waters around the American territory of Guam.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that the Japanese government warned that a North Korean missile was headed toward the Tohoku region at the northern end of the country. NHK also reported that Japan took no action to shoot down the projectile.
The Japanese broadcaster reported that the North Korean missile broke into three pieces and fell into the sea.
NHK also reported that the Japanese government has convened an emergency meeting of its response team to collect and analyze information.
The South Korean government has called for a national security council meeting at 7 a.m. local time, according to a presidential spokesperson. South Korean authorities have not issued an evacuation order.
The Japanese government has urged people in Tohoku to take refuge in solid buildings or underground shelters, according to NHK.
On Monday, U.S. and Japanese servicemen concluded joint exercises in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost major island.
A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC that this would be the first missile test to pass over Japan on a high altitude trajectory. In 1998, North Korea fired a missile through Japanese airspace.
Tensions surrounding North Korea’s missile tests have ratcheted up throughout the summer as Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump engaged in a war of words.
Trump previously warned Pyongyang that threats against the U.S. would be met with “fire and fury.” North Korean state media subsequently responded by saying that it was considering striking the U.S. territory of Guam.