North Korea launched a ballistic missile towards Japan early Tuesday — sparking fears of an incoming nuclear strike.
The projectile overshot the country and eventually landed in the ocean, but was enough to cause people to take cover and seek shelter, with authorities warning of a possible attack on cities within Hokkaido and other parts of northern Japan.
Local broadcasters had been instructing people to “evacuate to a sturdy building or basement” amid the drama, according to social media users.
The North Korean news agency, Yonhap, first reported that Pyongyang had fired the missile from the Hermit Kingdom’s eastern coast.
Military officials said the “unidentified” projectile broke up into three pieces before falling into the waters off Hokkaido.
The Japanese military reportedly did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which passed over Japan at around 6:06 a.m. local time.
The threat of nuclear war has been looming over the Korean Peninsula for several weeks and months after numerous threats from both the US and the North.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has threatened to fire missiles at Guam and the US mainland, while President Donald Trump warned that Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” should they continue to make threats.
Monday’s launch comes just days after North Korea fired a trio of short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and a month after it ran another intercontinental ballistic missile test — its second to date.