Japan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday retracted its earlier claim that North Korea fired two ballistic missiles rather than one on Oct. 19, saying it had mistakenly detected a man-made object in space.
The assertion that there had been two launches contradicted reports from the North's state-run media as well as analysis by the United States and South Korea that only mentioned a single submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The ministry said that after reviewing data it had concluded the object picked up by its radar was mistaken for a ballistic missile.
The SLBM, meanwhile, flew on an unconventional trajectory in which it pulled up after its initial descent, the ministry said, a maneuver aimed at avoiding interception.
Part of a series of recent missile tests by North Korea, the launch was condemned by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as "extremely regrettable" and a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency had reported on the successful test-firing of a new type of SLBM with "advanced control guidance technologies including flank mobility and gliding skip mobility."