|Hwasong-14 Ballistic Missile|
TOKYO, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Japan has said it is currently analyzing claims by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier Tuesday.
Japan has condemned the launch as a provocative act and lodged a strong protest with Pyongyang through its diplomatic channels.
Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada told a press briefing on the matter that the missile, launched at around 9:39 a.m local time, achieved a higher altitude than any other missile test by the DPRK.
She also said the missile likely flew over a distance shorter than the range that it was capable of, on a steep trajectory.
Government sources said separately that the missile reached an altitude higher than 2,500 km and said that if it had been launched at a regular trajectory, it would have a range of more than 4,000 km.
Inada declined to state if the defense ministry had any more information on the exact type of missile launched. however, she said that it could be a new type of ballistic missile from the one that was fired on May 14, or an upgraded version of the same or similar type.
The defense minister's comments came after the DPRK made an unprecedented announcement after the launch that it had successfully launched an ICBM.
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