The Japanese government has issued an emergency warning (PIcture: AP)
North Korea appears to have launched a ballistic missile, sparking an emergency alert in Japan.
The Japanese government issued a warning on Tuesday for residents in the south to take cover from the possible threat of a North Korean missile.
Japan said over its J-Alert broadcasting system that North Korea appeared to have fired a missile, sending out the warning to residents in the southern prefecture of Okinawa.
North Korea had earlier in the day notified Japan that it plans to launch a satellite, in what Tokyo and Seoul said could be a third attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Any attempts by North Korea to use ballistic rocket technology have been banned by the UN, even for non-military purposes.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida previously told his government to attempt to talk Pyongyang into scrapping the plan, in cooperation with the United States and South Korea.
‘If (North Korea) uses ballistic missile technology, that will constitute a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions even if it is aimed at launching a satellite,’ Kishida told reporters.
Japan’s NHK broadcaster has said it believes the rocket is likely to be a satellite.
Further reports suggest that the missile appears to have headed towards the Pacific Ocean, and the alert has since been lifted.
Japan’s coastguard did not take any steps to destroy the missile, its defence ministry has announced.
For more stories like this, check our news page.