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Abe vows to maximize pressure on N. Korea after missile launch

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers questions from reporters following North Korea's missile launch, at the prime minister's office in Tokyo early on Nov. 29, 2017. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch early Wednesday and said Japan will maximize pressure on the country in cooperation with the international community.

    Abe called for more sanctions to be imposed on Pyongyang, which fired the missile into Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan.

    "Japan will never yield to any provocative act (by North Korea) and raise pressure on it to the maximum level," he told reporters at his office in Tokyo.

    The government was able to "completely" track the flight of the missile, which came down around 250 kilometers west of Aomori Prefecture on the northern tip of Japan's main island of Honshu, Abe said.

    Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile could have been the longest-range missile test-fired by North Korea. It was launched on a lofted trajectory, reached an altitude of more than 4,000 kilometers and flew for some 50 minutes, he said.

    No damage to aircraft and vessels operating around the point where the missile is believed to have dropped has been reported, the defense chief added.

    The government did not give an order to intercept the missile as it judged there was no possibility that it would land within Japan's territory or territorial waters, he said.

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