At 6:59am Friday (5:59pm Thursday, EDT) North Korea launched an intermediate range ballistic missile. The missile passed over the northernmost Japanese Home Island of Hokkaido, continued downrange, and splashed in the Western Pacific.
This is the flight path
— Sentinel (@StratSentinel) September 14, 2017
Just a couple of weeks ago, on August 28, the North Koreans fired another missile on a very similar trajectory.
— Billy Burton (@billyb2009) August 28, 2017
The missile was launched from Pyongyang international airport, the same launch location as the last time.
The missile is speculated to be the intermediate range ballistic missile called the Hwasong-12. It is also speculated that this is the first operational test of that missile and it will probably move into production in the near future.
Total time of flight was 17 minutes. It took approximately six minutes to reach Japanese airspace.
Total distance traveled was about 3,700 km. Max height was about 770 km.
This is what it was like on Hokkaido when the launch was detected:
This is the sixth North Korean missile, and the second ballistic missile, to have been fired over Japanese territory. The other four missiles were satellite launch vehicles.
The test should probably be seen in light of the enhance UN sanctions imposed on North Korea on Monday. But it is part of a concerted campaign to make unsteady allies even more uneasy by demonstrating to them the downside of military cooperation with the United States. A little earlier today it seemed as though the already shaky Moon government in South Korea was looking over its shoulder for the exit. The dynamic with Japan, though, is playing out quite differently. Japan is not taking being threatened by its former colony all that well.
Get used to this. North Korea seems to be using the Pacific Ocean east of Japan as its test range. It learns a bit more on each of these shots and it gets a chance to mess with Tokyo. In short, it is just too much to resist.