North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan on Wednesday, the Japanese and South Korean governments said, as the country's leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin.
The South Korean military's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that North Korea launched the missiles from the Sunan area of Pyongyang between around 11:43 a.m. and 11:53 a.m.
The Japanese Defense Ministry said the two projectiles traveled eastward about 350 kilometers and 650 km, respectively, and that both reached a maximum altitude of some 50 km before falling near the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, outside Japan's exclusive economic zone.
The second missile may have flown on an irregular trajectory, the ministry said, adding that no damage to ships or planes has been reported.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed the relevant ministries and agencies to gather information and ensure the safety of aircraft and ships, according to his office.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference that the government has lodged a formal protest with North Korea through its embassy in Beijing.
The launches come ahead of a Wednesday afternoon meeting between Kim and Putin in the Russian Far East region of Amur. The two leaders are expected to discuss enhancing military cooperation amid Russia's war on Ukraine, according to sources close to Russian authorities.
It is the first time North Korea has launched ballistic missiles since Aug. 30 when the country test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan, in an apparent response to a nearby joint U.S.-South Korea military drill involving a U.S. strategic bomber.