SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea continued its barrage of weapons tests on Thursday, with Japan saying missiles were shot over its northern territory and South Korea saying it detected at least two missiles shot toward its eastern waters.
The launches are the latest in a series of North Korean weapons test in recent months that have raised tensions in the region. They came a day after Pyongyang fired more than 20 missiles, the most it has fired in a single day ever.
South Korea was the first to announce a North Korea launch Thursday, saying it detected at least one North Korean ballistic launch toward its eastern sea. Later, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected an additional missile launch also toward its eastern waters.
Japan said more than one missile was fired, although it didn't immediately say how many. It said the missiles flew over its territory and landed in the Pacific Ocean.
The Prime Minister's Office issued warnings to residents in the northern prefectures of Miyagi, Yamagata and Niigata, instructing them to go inside firm buildings or go underground. There have been no reports of damage or injuries from areas where the alerts were issued.
Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff didn't immediate confirm what type of missiles it detected or how far they flew.
One of the more than 20 missiles North Korea shot on Wednesday flew in the direction of a populated South Korean island and landed near the rivals' tense sea border, triggering air raid sirens and forcing residents in Ulleung island to evacuate. South Korea quickly responded by launching its own missiles in the same border area.
Those launches came hours after North Korea threatened to use nuclear weapons to get the U.S. and South Korea to "pay the most horrible price in history" in protest of ongoing South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as a rehearsal for a potential invasion.
North Korea last flew a missile over Japan in October in what it described as test of a new intermediate range ballistic missile, which experts say potentially would be capable of reaching Guam, a major U.S. military hub in the Pacific. That launch forced the Japanese government to issue evacuation alerts and halt trains.
North Korea has been ramping up its weapons demonstrations to a record pace this year. It has fired dozens of missiles, including its first demonstration of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, as it exploits the distraction created by Russia's war in Ukraine and a pause in diplomacy to push forward arms development and dial up pressure on the United States and its Asian allies.
The North has punctuated its tests with an escalatory nuclear doctrine that authorizes preemptive nuclear attacks over a variety of loosely defined crisis situations. U.S. and South Korean officials say North Korea may up the ante in the coming weeks with its first detonation of a nuclear test device since September 2017.