07 July 2017

News Story: (Japanese) Defense Ministry issues fastest-ever missile launch notice, but some demand more detail

North Korea's Hwasong-14 Ballistic Missile
In a first for the Defense Ministry, it announced that a ballistic missile launched by North Korea on July 4 was likely to reach Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) while the missile was still in the air, around 12 minutes after the launch.

In a proud announcement, North Korea later declared that the missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"The prime minister's office has called for early provision of information (about missile launches) in order to avoid confusion," a Japanese government source told the Mainichi Shimbun. In April, some domestic railway operators temporarily suspended services on some lines in response to media reports about a previous launch.

According to the Defense Ministry, the July 4 missile was launched at around 9:39 a.m. and flew for about 40 minutes. The ministry's first press release about the launch was issued at 9:51 a.m., about 30 minutes before the missile splashed down in the Sea of Japan.

"It was the first time for us to make such an announcement before the missile landed anywhere, except in cases where North Korea had preannounced missile launches," a senior ministry official said.

The ministry announcement, however, did not clarify the missile's forecasted impact point, aside from the possibility that it may reach Japan's EEZ. Some of those who learned about the missile launch through media reports complained that they wanted to know more details.

Read the full story at The Mainichi