North Korea fired another ballistic missile on Wednesday that landed in Japanese waters for the first time.
The latest launch by the isolated country comes a day after President Park Geun-hye of South Korea said her government remained firm in its plan to deploy an advanced American missile defense system despite protests at home and from China.
The missile, a medium-range Rodong-type, was launched at about 7:50a.m. Seoul time from Eunyul on southwest. It that flew about 1,000 km (620 miles), South Korea's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Japan’s defense minister, Gen Nakatani, told reporters that the missile had landed about 155 miles off northern Japan, in international waters that the country claims under maritime law as part of its exclusive economic zone, or E.E.Z. It was the closest a North Korean missile had come to Japan since 1998.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the launch as a "grave threat" to Japan and said Tokyo "strongly protested".
The launch showed North Korean ambition to "directly and broadly attack neighboring countries and target several places in the Republic of Korea such as ports and airfields", the statement said.
The South Korean statement referred to just one launch, although the U.S. Strategic Command said it had detected two missiles, one of which it said exploded immediately after launch.
The previous incident, when North Korea fired three ballistic missiles that flew between 500 km and 600 km (300-360 miles) into the sea off its east coast, took place on July 19.
Earlier on Wednesday Japanese government issued an annual report, where North Korea was described as a possible threat. “North Korea’s military activity has increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and become a grave and imminent threat not only to Japan but also to the security in the region and the international society,” the report said.