North Korea has fired a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan, the Japanese government said Sunday, the latest in a series of missile launches by the North this year.

The missile is believed to have fallen outside Japan's exclusive economic zone after flying about 300 kilometers and reaching an altitude of about 600 km, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters in Tokyo, adding no damage has been reported.

The Japanese government lodged a protest with North Korea via the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, Kishi said. Tokyo and Pyongyang do not have diplomatic relations.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi speaks to reporters on Feb. 27, 2022, at his ministry in Tokyo. (Kyodo)

"We can never accept (North Korea) weaving through the gap to conduct a launch as the international community responds to Russia's aggression against Ukraine," Kishi said.

Takehiro Funakoshi, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Sung Kim, U.S. special representative for North Korea, held telephone talks and confirmed the two countries and South Korea will coordinate to resolve the North Korean nuclear and missile issues, the Japanese ministry said.

The U.S. military's Indo-Pacific Command condemned the missile launch and called on North Korea to "refrain from further destabilizing acts."

The command said in a statement it will continue to monitor the situation and that the U.S. commitment to the defense of allies Japan and South Korea "remains ironclad."

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi separately said in a television program, "We have renewed our intention to be well prepared."

But, while saying the impact of Russia's invasion of its neighbor "will not be limited to Europe and could affect East Asia," he said the government has yet to analyze whether there is a connection between the latest missile launch and the Ukraine crisis.

North Korea is banned from firing ballistic missiles under U.N. Security Council resolutions that have imposed sanctions on the nation.

In South Korea, government officials held a meeting of the National Security Council and expressed "deep regrets" over the launch of the ballistic missile.

The country's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was launched from an area near Sunan in Pyongyang around 7:52 a.m. toward the Sea of Japan.

The launch marks the eighth round of missile tests by Pyongyang since the beginning of 2022. The previous launch was on Jan. 30.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed his government to provide accurate information to the public, confirm the safety of ships and aircraft and respond to unforeseen situations.

On Jan. 30, North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile. It was believed to be its first launch of such a missile since November 2017.

The Jan. 30 launch came after Pyongyang had hinted at resuming nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, saying it may restart all "activities" that it had temporarily suspended to build trust with the United States.

Related coverage:

North Korea blames U.S. in 1st response to Russian invasion of Ukraine

North Korea marks birthday of late leader without military provocation

North Korea confirms testing of long-range ballistic missile Jan. 30