North Korea launched two ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan on Sunday, Japanese and South Korean authorities said, days after Tokyo said it will acquire the capability to strike enemy bases, marking a dramatic shift in its postwar security policy.
The two missiles were fired between 11:13 a.m. and 12:05 p.m., South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The projectiles flew 500 kilometers, reaching a maximum altitude of 550 km before both falling outside Japan's exclusive economic zone, Japan's Defense Ministry said, adding there were no reports of damage to aircraft or vessels.
Japan had lodged a protest with Pyongyang via its embassy in Beijing, Senior Vice Defense Minister Toshiro Ino told reporters.
The latest launches came after Japan said Friday it will obtain "counterstrike capabilities" in three revised defense documents. In one of the three, the updated National Security Strategy, Pyongyang's military activities were described as an "imminent threat."
North Korea said Friday it had successfully test-fired a "high-thrust solid-fuel motor" with 140 tons of thrust, according to state media, as the country seeks to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of being launched with a shorter preparation time.
Last month, Pyongyang test-fired an ICBM-class projectile, prompting Japan, the United States and South Korea to tighten their sanctions on the North to curb its weapons programs.