Update: Japan PM Abe, speaking to reporters in Tokyo after the launch, said North Korea appears to have fired a missile that flew over Japan. According to subsequent reports as many as three separate ballistic missiles may have been launched.
"It seems that DPRK missile passed over our airspace," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said adding that the government was urgently collecting intelligence on the incident and doing everything to ensure the safety of its citizens.
Abe's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga adds that the missile flying over Japan is a "new, serious development" and called it an "unprecedented, grave threat."
- JAPAN CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: JAPAN TO TAKE APPROPRIATE STEPS AS NEEDED REGARDING NORTH KOREA MISSILE
- JAPAN'S SUGA:NORTH KOREA BALLISTIC MISSILE AN UNPRECEDENTED, GRAVE THREAT
NHK, Japan's national public broadcasting organization, reported the Japanese government issued a warning to people living in northern prefectures to take cover near strong structures after reports of the launch. It also added that multiple missiles were fired by North Korea. Finally, NHK notes that the missile appears to have broken up into 3 parts.
Citing government sources, NHK reports that the missile likely landed off eastern coast of Hokkaido.
The North Korea missile reportedly passed over Hokkaido around 6:06am JST.
* * *
Three days after North Korea launched three short-range ballisitic missiles, a move which as we discussed last night was met virtually without any response by the US administration and which we said would embolden North Korea to proceed with further provocations, Kim Jong Un has done just that and moments ago Yonhap reported that North Korea has fired another missile.
- N.KOREA FIRED UNIDENTIFIED PROJECTILE FROM PYONGYANG: S.KOREA
- N.KOREA PROJECTILE FIRED FROM REGION NEAR PYONGYANG - YONHAP
- N.KOREA FIRES PROJECTILE INTO SEA OFF EAST COAST - YONHAP CITING S.KOREA MILITARY
Yonhap also adds that the projectile was fired into the East Sea.
According to Japan's NHK, the Japanese government warns that the North Korea missile is headed toward Northern Japan:
- JAPAN GOVT WARNS PEOPLE IN NORTHERN JAPAN TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS AGAIN POSSIBLE NORTH KOREA MISSILE - NHK
Shortly after the launch, the Japanese government urged citizens to take refuge in solid buildings or underground shelters.
The North Korea missile passed over Hokkaido around 6:06am JST, according to NHK, while the South Korean military confirms North Korean ballistic missile flew over Japan.
The USDJPY is tumbling on the news...
The S&P is lower, and Gold higher...
And VIX is surging:
... Although the latest update from NHK is that contrary to initial reports, the missile has passed over Japan, reportedly over Hokkaido:
- NORTH KOREA MISSILE HAS PASSED OVER JAPAN - NHK
NHK also adds that Japan did not attempt to shoot down the missile:
- JAPAN DIDN'T ATTEMPT TO SHOOT DOWN MISSILE: JAPAN GOVT VIA NHK
Unconfirmed reports state that the launch was from a submarine:
Reports of Submarine launch by North Korea
— InsideNK (@inside_nk) August 28, 2017
If the Japanese report is accurate, and a N.Korean missile indeed flew over Japan, it will be seen as a substantial escalation in hostilities and will most likely merit a response.