Japan to analyze N.Korea launches with US, S.Korea

The Japanese government plans to analyze North Korea's latest missile firings in conjunction with the United States and South Korea. Japan will stay on full alert, citing the possibility of more launches.

The Japanese government says North Korea fired two ballistic missiles on Thursday morning. The missiles are believed to have flown about 450 kilometers before falling in Sea of Japan waters outside Japan's exclusive economic zone.

They are the first ballistic missile launches by North Korea in about a year. They are also the first since Joe Biden became US president.

The Japanese government lodged a protest to North Korea through the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. It says the launches clearly violate UN Security Council resolutions and are absolutely intolerable.

A senior official from the Japanese Foreign Ministry talked on the phone with his US and South Korean counterparts separately. They agreed that their countries will continue their close trilateral cooperation.

The officials were the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General Funakoshi Takehiro, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Sung Kim, and the South Korean Foreign Ministry's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk.

The Japanese Defense Ministry believes the missiles traveled on normal trajectories.

Some Japanese government officials say North Korea may have reacted to joint military exercises held by the US and South Korea earlier this month based on emergency scenarios on the Korean Peninsula.

They add North Korea may also intend to gauge how the Biden administration will respond. Washington has been reviewing its policy toward Pyongyang.