Japan's Defense Minister Taro Kono says North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking to reporters, Kono said the two missiles were fired from the western part of North Korea at around 4:35 p.m. and flew eastward. He said they are believed to have flown 350 to 400 kilometers across land and reached an altitude of about 100 kilometers.
He said the North has fired missiles more often this year than before and there are various analyses on the North's intentions.
Kono said that the missile launches are apparently helping the country acquire new missile launch technology, and that is a grave situation for Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Thursday evening that his government has confirmed the missiles had fallen outside Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone.
He said that such an action is a threat to peace and security of Japan and the region, and should be strongly condemned.
Abe noted that North Korea has fired more than 20 projectiles this year. He stressed that Japan needs to strengthen security surveillance much more and stay on the alert.
Abe said he has called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, and the government is determined to closely cooperate with the United States, South Korea and other countries to protect people's lives and maintain peace.