North Korea fired two short-range projectiles from what is believed to be a "super-large multiple rocket launcher" on Thursday afternoon off its east coast, South Korea's military said, with the Japanese Defense Ministry saying they were ballistic missiles.

The projectiles were fired at around 4:59 p.m. from the Yeonpo area of South Hamgyong Province toward the Sea of Japan and flew about 380 kilometers while reaching an altitude of 97 km, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Japan lodged a protest with North Korea via their embassies in Beijing, a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

The Japan Coast Guard issued a warning for ships in the area to be vigilant, while the Defense Ministry said the projectiles do not appear to have fallen into waters within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting of the National Security Council at his office in Tokyo involving other Cabinet ministers to discuss the latest North Korean activity.

It represented the 13th time since May for North Korea to fire projectiles of any type, including short-range ballistic missiles.

On Oct. 31, it similarly fired two projectiles toward the Sea of Japan, from South Pyongan Province, according to South Korea's military.