NORTH Korea has fired a nuclear-capable missile over Japan for the first time in five years, sending panicked residents fleeing for cover.
Locals were urged to seek safety underground as the terrifying rocket soared above the nation before landing in the Pacific Ocean.
Officials issued evacuation notices and suspended some public transport services during the missile’s flight on Tuesday.
Trains were stopped as the long-range ballistic missile flew over the neighbouring nation after being launched from the Jagang Province.
O japonês Government warned citizens to take cover after its coast guard reported the launch by North Korea.
The 2,800-mile trip is believed to be the longest journey taken by any North Korean missile during a weapons test.
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Panic quickly spread throughout Japan after a string of emergency announcements urging people to seek safety.
A statement from the country’s Prime Minister’s Office warned residents to “evacuate inside a building or underground”.
But authorities did not have to intervene with any defence measures to destroy the missile, which later landed in the Pacific Ocean.
PM Fumio Kishida later slammed the firing as a “reckless act” that he “strongly condemns” after his people were left scrambling.
Officials warned North Korea “poses a serious challenge to the entire international community,” amid the surprise firing – the first time a missile has flown over Japan since 2017.
South Koreas Joint Chiefs of Staff warned Kim Jong Un will likely continue with worrying missile launches to antagonise its enemies.
But the bold power play will only deepen its international isolation and prompt Seoul and Washington to bolster their deterrence capacities.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said he had consulted with Japanese officials over the phone in wake of the missile launch.
He reiterated his nation’s “ironclad commitments to the defence of Japan,” while promising to advance its efforts to limit North Korea’s nuclear abilities.
Footage also shows a message running on local Japanese TV ordering residents to evacuate and take shelter underground.
“North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community,” Japan’s top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno said.