Highlights

  • North Korea fired ballistic missiles over Japan
  • Japan issued 'J-alert' for residents, its first since 2017
  • North Korea's move emerged amid stalled nuclear diplomacy involving South Korea, US

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North Korea fires missiles: what is J-Alert issued by Japan to its citizens

The move has escalated tests of weapons designed to strike key targets in regional US allies amid stalled nuclear diplomacy.

North Korea on Tuesday fired ballistic missiles over Japan, therefore resulting in alert for residents in Northern Japan, reportedly the first such alert since 2017.

Japanese authorities have issued a 'J-alert' to residents in northeastern areas to vacate the buildings.

The J-Alert warning system was activated for Hokkaido, Aomori Prefecture and Tokyo’s Izu and Ogasawara islands.

Under the J-Alert system, which was developed in 2007, messages are sent in times of national emergencies such as earthquakes, terrorist attacks and certain missile launches.

Warnings are automatically sent to municipalities through satellites and administrative radio networks, and then broadcast to residents through sirens and community FM radios. Smartphone users also get alerts through phone carriers.

Upon receiving a J-Alert message, people are urged to take shelter either inside buildings or underground, as was the case with Tuesday’s launch. When there’s no building nearby, people are advised to hide behind objects or lie on the ground while protecting their heads. If people are indoors, they are advised to stay away from windows.

The alerts also urge people not to approach debris or objects that may have fallen in the event of a missile strike or overflight.

Following the launch, the locals of the said region were asked to move to safer locations, while public transport such as train services were also suspended in the susceptible areas.

The Japanese prime minister's office said at least one missile fired from North Korea flew over Japan and was believed to have landed into the Pacific Ocean.

The launch is seen as a possible response to military drills between South Korea and Unites States, which Pyongyang views as an invasion demonstration.

The missiles fired during the past four rounds of launches were short-range and fell in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Those missiles are capable of hitting targets in South Korea.

The latest launch is the fifth round of weapons test by North Korea in the past 10 days.

(With inputs from PTI)

Also watch: Explained: Here's why North Korea has vowed to 'never abandon' nuclear weapons

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