Japan carried out joint maritime drills with the United States and South Korea on Wednesday following North Korea's latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile late last week, the Defense Ministry said.

The exercises involving the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force's Atago, a destroyer equipped with the Aegis missile interceptor system, as well as U.S. and South Korean Aegis ships, were conducted in the Sea of Japan, the ministry said.

Aegis ships of (from L) Japan, the United States and South Korea engage in joint maritime drills in the Sea of Japan on Feb. 22, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Japanese Defense Ministry's Joint Staff Office)(Kyodo)

The destroyers were engaged in information sharing on the assumption of ballistic missile launches and other military activities by other nations, such as North Korea, the ministry said.

North Korea has recently resumed its provocative missile firings into the Sea of Japan in protest of joint defense drills by the United States with its East Asian allies.

On Saturday, Pyongyang fired a Hwasong-15, an ICBM seen as capable of reaching anywhere on the U.S. mainland, on a lofted trajectory. The United States held air exercises with Tokyo and Seoul, respectively, on Sunday.

The missile appeared to have fallen into Japan's exclusive economic zone off its northern territory, but it could travel over 14,000 kilometers on a normal trajectory.

North Korea also fired two ballistic missiles on Monday morning, which seemed to have fallen outside Japan's EEZ, warning of more launches over the Japanese archipelago.

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