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Tokyo says North Korea may have fired missile toward Japan

Japan’s prime minister has called for an emergency meeting after North Korea fired what is reported to be a missile, which may have landed in the sea off Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Friday that the reported missile launch was being analyzed and that he had called a meeting of the National Security Council.

Abe said the international community must raise the heat on North Korea over its latest missile launch.

The launch, the Japanese premier said, showed that “the threat to Japan’s security has become grave and real.”

“As long as North Korea continues such provocative actions, there is no avoiding maintaining close contact with the international community, starting with the United States, South Korea, China and Russia, and further strengthening the pressure,” Abe stated.

Shortly after Abe’s comments, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced in the early hours of Saturday that a North Korean missile had flown about 45 minutes and appeared to have landed in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, but that there were no immediate reports of damage.

Suga added that the missile launch was unacceptable and in clear violation of the United Nations resolutions, and said Japan had protested in the strongest possible terms.

In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, confirmed that a launch of a ballistic missile from North Korea had been detected.

He said, “We are assessing and will have more information soon.”

The Pentagon said the missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which flew a distance of about 1,000 kilometers.