North Korea launched a new ballistic missile Tuesday that flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, Washington Post reported.

The country has conducted several ballistic missiles tests in the past but firing the missiles over Japan is a rare move.The Japanese government issued a warning to its citizens to take cover after the missile flew over the island.

Serious threat

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said in an Emergency National Security Council meeting that this was a 'reckless act' and 'it represents a serious threat without precedent to Japan,' and the government would take 'all possible measures' to guarantee the safety of the Japanese people...We have also requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.' Abe added.

Tuesday's launch comes days after Pyongyang tested three short-range ballistic missiles and one of the three missiles failed. The missile that was launched Tuesday, Hwasong-12, is an intermediate-range ballistic missile that is capable of reaching Guam, the U.S. Pacific territory, according to early reports from South Korea.

The latest ballistic missiles tests landed between the sea of the Korean Peninsula and Japan instead of flying over Japan. The last time this happened was in 1998 when North Korean fired a missile over Japan and a fired rocket also crossed Japan in 2009, ABC News reported.

'The missile did not pose threat to the U.S.' a Pentagon spokesman said.

The missile was fired before 6:00 AM Japan's local time and it flew about 1678 miles reaching a maximum altitude of 342 miles and broke into three pieces before falling into the Pacific Ocean, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

Response to sanctions

The move came as a defiance of U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea because of its pursuance of a Nuclear Program. Kim Jong-un threatened to fire missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam and President Donald Trump warned that North Korea could face 'fire and fury' if it targeted the United States.

CNN reported that Japan imposed unilateral sanctions on eight foreign firms and individuals over their dealings with North Korea. The sanctions include four companies from China and two from Namibia.

The U.S. and South Korea are currently conducting military exercises that the North considers to be a preparation for invasion.

This is considered a dangerous escalation from Kim's regime according to analysts because if the rockets broke up and hit Japan, it could be considered a hostile act. Kim has ordered the launch of 18 missiles this year alone, comparing to his father Kim-Jong Il who fired 16 missiles during his 17-year reign.