Japan was filled with a sense of tension after North Korea launched a missile, which flew above Hokkaido before plunging into the Pacific Ocean, early on the morning of Aug. 29.
The central and local governments were quick to respond to Pyongyang's missile launch. The national government officially confirmed that North Korea launched the missile at 6:01 a.m., a few minutes after the missile was launched, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed the government to take all possible measures to respond to the missile launch.
At 6:02 a.m., the Fire and Disaster Management Agency notified the Hokkaido and 11 other prefectural governments of the missile launch through the "J-Alert" nationwide warning system.
At 6:03 a.m., the Japan Coast Guard warned vessels around Japan to be on full alert while at 6:04 a.m. the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry urged airlines and the pilots of aircraft flying near the course of the missile to exercise caution.
At around 6:06 a.m., the missile passed above Cape Erimo in Hokkaido, and the central government officially confirmed that a minute later. Prime Minister Abe instructed officials to gather sufficient information on the matter.
The Oga Municipal Government in Akita Prefecture urged local residents through an emergency radio system to exercise caution.
The information on the missile launch prompted some railway operators to stop their trains as a safety precaution. At around 6:06 a.m., Nagoya Railroad Co. in Aichi Prefecture temporarily suspended operations on all its lines. A local train on the JR Tohoku Line heading for Fukushima from Sendai made an emergency stop at 6:10 a.m. The conductor announced through its public address system that the railway operator was confirming safety.
Ten residents of Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture, voluntarily evacuated to City Hall at around 6:10 a.m., prompting the municipal government to open the first floor lobby for evacuees.
The missile plunged into the Pacific Ocean about 1,180 kilometers east of Cape Erimo at around 6:12 a.m.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency notified the Hokkaido and 11 other prefectural governments through J-Alert at 6:14 a.m. that the missile flew over Japan. Prime Minister Abe told reporters at 6:24 a.m. that the government "is determined to do its best to protect the lives of the people." Sixteen minutes later, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga held an extraordinary news conference to explain North Korea's missile launch.
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