Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary on North Korea’s Launch Using Ballistic Missile Technology

November 22, 2023

[Provisional translation]

  1. At around 22:43pm today, North Korea conducted a launch using ballistic missile technology aimed at launching a satellite that flew over the area between the main island of Okinawa and Miyakojima island. It is estimated that it separated into several parts, all of which fell outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Government of Japan has swiftly provided the public with information through J-Alert and Em-Net and is taking every possible measure in response, including confirming the safety of navigating vessels and aircraft, as well as the safety of the areas determined to have been along the flight path. No damage has been reported as of now.
  2. The countries concerned including Japan, as well as the international community as a whole, have repeatedly urged, including on this occasion, North Korea to fully comply with relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, condemned North Korea’s repeated provocations including ballistic missile launches, and urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile development programs. Despite this, North Korea has repeatedly launched ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)-class ballistic missiles, violating relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. This time, the launch was conducted ahead of the launch window notified earlier.
  3. North Korea had launched a missile using ballistic missile technology on August 24, which flew over the Japanese archipelago. The series of provocations by North Korea, including the launch this time, constitute an increasingly grave and imminent threat to our national security, raise serious concerns for the safety of Japanese nationals, and are extremely regrettable and totally unacceptable for Japan. Furthermore, these repeated launches that flew over the Japanese archipelago are also extremely problematic acts from the perspective of ensuring the safety of aircraft and vessels as well as the safety of residents of areas along the determined flight path. Such actions by North Korea are in violation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions that prohibit North Korea from conducting any launch using ballistic missile technology as well as the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, threaten the peace and security of the region and the international community, and constitute a serious provocation to Japan and the international community as a whole. Japan lodges its serious protest, expresses the deep anger of its people and condemns North Korea in the strongest possible terms.
  4. Japan once again strongly urges North Korea to immediately and fully implement the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions as well as to take concrete actions towards the comprehensive resolution of the outstanding issues of concern, including the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues.
  5. In accordance with the instructions from the Prime Minister including to provide timely and accurate information as well as to ensure safety, the Government of Japan will continue to take every possible measure to ensure the peace and security of the nation as well as the peace of mind and safety of the Japanese people, and will take the following measures:

    (1) Reconfirm whether or not any damage has resulted from the launch, including from falling objects, focusing on the areas along the determined flight path;

    (2) Thoroughly collect and analyze information concerning possible future developments by North Korea including growing military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, and provide information to the public in a timely and accurate manner;

    (3) Prevent contingencies by constantly maintaining Japan’s posture as necessary;

    (4) Continue to steadily implement Japan’s own measures and also measures based on relevant UN Security Council Resolutions; further strengthen, now more than ever, cooperation and collaboration with the countries concerned, including the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), as well as with the international community, ensure the effectiveness of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and swiftly examine firm responses towards North Korea, including further responses by the UN Security Council;

    (5) Further reinforce the Japan-U.S. Alliance in order to advance Japan’s responses to contingencies and to promote measures by the international community directed at North Korea, and further promote related efforts including Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, with the Japan-U.S. Alliance as the cornerstone and based on the outcomes of the Japan-U.S.-ROK Summit held on August 18 in Camp David; and

    (6) Based on the National Security Strategy and relevant documents, ensure the implementation of policies to fundamentally reinforce our defense capabilities, including counterstrike capabilities, and reinforce deterrence and response capabilities through such measures.

  6. We ask the public to remain calm and continue on with their daily lives and activities as usual.

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