TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club
(YJC) - The missile was fired just before 6 a.m. in Japan. The launch set off warnings in the northern part of the country urging people to seek shelter.
It flew over Erimomisaki, on the northern island of Hokkaido, and broke into three pieces before falling into the Pacific Ocean, about 1,180 kilometers (733 miles) off the Japanese coast.
The missile was in flight for about 14 minutes, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at an emergency press conference. "There is no immediate report of the fallen objects and no damage to the ships and aircraft," he added.
Pentagon spokesman US Army Col. Rob Manning said the launch did not pose an immediate threat to North America.
Minutes after the missile was launched, residents in northern Japan received a text message urging them to seek shelter in a strong structure or a basement. "We were awoken by sirens and messages from the government telling us to take cover," one local resident told CNN.
The first message came in at 6:02 a.m. Japan time:
"Missile launched. missile launched. It seems that the missile has been launched from North Korea. Please evacuate to building with strong structure or go to the basement."
The second alert came in about 12 minutes later:
"Missile passed. Missile passed. A minute ago, the missile seems to have pass the airspace of this area. If you find anything suspicious, please don't come close to it, report to the police and firefighter directly."
A pedestrian looks at a television screen displaying Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to the media in Tokyo on August 29, 2017, following a North Korean missile test that passed over Japan. (Photo by AFP)
Prime Minister Abe condemned the launch as a "reckless act."
"We have fully grasped the movement of the missile immediately after their launch and have been taking every possible effort to protect the lives of people," he said. "It is a serious and grave threat which impairs the safety and peace of the region."
Pyongyang's missile tests are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions, but that hasn't stopped current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from attempting to rapidly develop his country's nuclear and missile programs.
Analysts say North Korea believes developing a nuclear weapon that can fit atop a missile powerful enough to reach the United States is the only way Pyongyang can deter any US-led efforts at regime change.
This was the first North Korea missile to fly across the Japanese archipelago, excluding its small southwestern islands, since April 2009, when Pyongyang fired a long-range Taepodong-2 missile.