Hell, in the past decade, NK has sent a threat to SK - by fax.
In other words, it's pretty reasonable to believe this is just Un trying to rile people up until someone sends them some more aid. As we haven't sent any, the behavior gets more and more outlandish. Inside the Hermit Kingdom, I'm pretty sure the leaders are well aware of the futility of actual war.
Mr. Un is just doing what his father and grandfather have done. They are basically screaming until mommy buys them some candy.
Yes, I know that's not universal either, but it's close enough that it helps me conceptualize names when I'm writing code that must deal with them :)
Edited because I read your post more carefully.
Also, know, that as soon as war starts with NK, they will start shelling Seoul with traditional artillery within a few minutes before we could do anything about it. I think Bannon estimated it at 10M deaths within the first 30 minutes with conventional weapons.
Edit: Bannon casualty estimates and link.
“Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
edit: I just read the article you linked to. I still want to believe the authors may not quite have all the information. After all, if such a way to neutralize them existed, but North Korea believed their position there untouchable, we wouldn't want to publicize our plan. Far from unprecedented.
The most accurate counter-battery fire in the world can't take shells out of the air, though. Sufficiently well drilled and supplied NK gun crews would most likely be able to fire several rounds each before the first return fire arrived. And even if they weren't, at least one salvo would have to go out for the counter-battery radars to lay their guns at all, whereas the cities targeted by NK in this scenario don't move around much, and could be precisely targeted before the first fire mission commenced.
Twenty million in minutes is implausible. Twenty or thirty thousand isn't, and no preemptive option exists; to even hope to have a realistic shot at forestalling significant civilian casualties, we'd not only have to start the war nobody wants, but do it with utmost ferocity, crossing the DMZ like the Wehrmacht heading for the English Channel.
But even that wouldn't work; NK espionage assets would certainly notice the necessary concentration of force - all they'd have to do would be to watch the news stories about World War II-scale transports suddenly heading west across the Pacific from every military port on the US West Coast - and the NK regime, mad though it be, could hardly fail to draw the obvious conclusion and respond accordingly. There's no way in the modern world to achieve the kind of strategic surprise such blitzkrieg requires - not, at least, without pulling off the kind of deception that Tom Clancy wouldn't have dared write into a novel.
And within the game of MAD North Korea is playing against the US and South Korea, I'm pretty sure it would be beneficial for the US to publicise the ability to neutralise the threat against Seoul. Because that threat is what gives NK the safety to continue the development of nuclear weapons and ICBMs.
The only reason not to publicise such capabilities would be the possibility to, in turn, neutralise this "instant-reaction type airforce" (or whatever it may be). And I'm having a hard time coming up with any realistic scenario.
Here's some info including maps of their artillery range and capability.
It is exaggerated by two or three orders of magnitudes from most published estimates.
For that many people to die, the entire population of Seoul ( 10 million ) plus half that of the greater metropolitan area would have to move to the northern regions of the city within range of the North's artillery and the latter would have to be 100% fatal.
Even counting the population of cities between the DMZ and Seoul only adds two million.
The best effectiveness figures I've seen cited for C-RAM range from 60 to 70 percent. Leaving aside that these are Raytheon's figures and thus extremely untrustworthy - and leaving aside, too, that Phalanx guns eat through their magazines in an awful hurry, and require much manual effort and time to reload - that still leaves three or four out of every ten shells hitting whatever they're aimed at. If they're aimed at Seoul, that's not really solving the problem.
Because of the proximity of the two countries, what you hope for is logistically impossible. Traditional artillery can't be intercepted in the way your describing. Unless sabotaged beforehand(which is unlikely since North Korea is an intelligence services black hole), by the time we scramble a response to take out their artillery, the damage is done. Nukes are largely out of the question as well, unless you plan to blanket South Korea and Japan in radioactive fallout.
I don't think there's currently any kind of instant-reaction force that could deal with the low tech threat of thousands of simple guns all firing simultaneously.
Well, except for nukes.
And NK has counter-counter-measures to those counter-measures. What about the world makes it that our side must win? History is littered - overflowing, really - with the bodies of the good guys.
I've recently read experts saying it would take over a day to eliminate the artillery. It's universally believed by such people, as far as I've read, that the damage to Seoul and its people would catastrophic.
Just to make that clear: This isn't a revelation Bannon had, at least not remotely first. That military solutions to the NK problem would involve tremendous human cost has widely been publicly reported on, often enough with well documented sources. Before the last few weeks the US govt admitted as much.
"While North Korea’s nuclear program is defensive, it still makes sense to remind the world about its existence and use what President Richard Nixon once described as “madman strategy,” that is, to appear to one’s opponents to be irrational, volatile, and willing to disregard costs. That’s why North Korean propaganda uses such fiercely colorful language. When North Korean TV promises to “make Seoul into a sea of fire,” or threatens to nuke Canberra, or shows Kim Jong Un in front of a map of the United States with cities marked as targets of nuclear strikes, they are delivering the same message: “we are here, we are volatile, and will stop at nothing if our opponents do something threatening.”"
Madman strategy has a Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madman_theory, which states Machiavelli wroet sometimes it is "a very wise thing to simulate madness"
That's better than just full crazy all the time, which as you say, might draw a more dangerous response from your opponents.
1. NK's economy is in shambles. The regime has almost nothing to lose.
2. NK's regime does not care about human life (as evidenced by abuses against the people of NK). They would have no qualms about killing many many foreign civilians.
3. NK's populace/military would either not know about such an attack, would be convinced by state media that it was a justified attack on a military target, or would not be in a position to do anything about it.
4. Every country which NK has threatened (US, Japan, SK) is in all ways the opposite of the above: economically robust; government/military respecting of human life (of course there is room for debate there); populace respecting of human life and wary of war.
That means that any attack from NK against one of the above countries plays out as follows:
1. NK obliterates a population center. It has now demonstrated a capable threat.
2. NK makes demands (food, money, land, autonomy, whatever).
3. Victim country (say Japan) can either retaliate with precision strikes, retaliate in kind, retaliate with massive force, do nothing, or give in to demands.
3.a. Retaliating with precision strikes takes too long. NK launches another devastating attack. It is clearly not an option for the victim to lose another population center.
3.b. Retaliating in kind would be unacceptable to the government and populace of the victim country and the world at large. And if it were, it would not be worth the chance of a second attack from NK.
3.c. Retaliating with massive force (the "Trump" option) is absolutely not an option. Like the previous response, it would be completely unacceptable to the rest of the world, but most importantly, you would now be in a war with China who has to contend with a flood of refugees from a destroyed country.
3.d. Do nothing. Another city gets destroyed. NK is desperate, and there are lots of cities it can blow up until it gets its way.
3.e. Give in to demands. This is the only outcome that is all-around tenable. NK is happy, and further massive loss of human life is prevented.
NK is in an even better position if they can win their demands by merely demonstrating capability of destroying – or accidentally destroying – a city (e.g. by launching missiles over Japan), because they can repeat that trick more frequently than by actually destroying a city.
Or maybe do insane things like put really nice billion dollar ships offshore and blow them up once a month.
Somehow demonstrate the asymmetry to a larger portion of the population.
It reminds me of the advice to start arguing with others in your group if you're mugged, or to start singing, or anything similarly absurd.
But that was mostly a silly suggestion, the idea is to try to think of a way to make the idea that things are better elsewhere more available to the broader population. No idea if it is possible, but I think trying to do that might be more humane than ever harsher economic sanctions.
Either way if North Korea or to do something nuclear we've never answered the question of how we respond to that other than mutually assured distraction. However I don't think we can do that without causing serious problems to South Korea, China, and probably Japan. That policy was really designed for Russia, not something like NK.
We thought messing with Afghanistan and Iraq repaired, how in the world do you try and unwind something like North Korea?
The US has airbases in the area. Precision strikes won't take nearly as long as you think.
> Retaliating with massive force (the "Trump" option) is absolutely not an option. Like the previous response, it would be completely unacceptable to the rest of the world
I don't think this is true. See the US in the middle east.
> you would now be in a war with China who has to contend with a flood of refugees from a destroyed country.
China has stated that if NK launches the first strike, it will stay neutral, so no war with China. South Korea has planned for reunification for a very long time and has an enormous fund to help deal with it so though the flood of refugees is a serious problem, it's not unresolvable.
1. Is wrong because the decisions aren't made by the average North Korean, but by the leadership, which is living quite a comfortable life. At least more comfortable than death, or a war crimes tribunal.
3. The international community would absolutely tolerate proportional retaliation. For a nuclear attack (the only option North Korea would have against anything but Seoul), it is widely assumed that the US would retaliate with nuclear weapons. Even if some US president were to stop short of nuclear retaliation, there is no possibility of NK leadership surviving an attack.
The game theory mechanics aren't really that complicated. It's mostly the same as the cold war's Mutually Assured Destruction. Except the cold war scenarios always had the wrinkle of "if our enemy has already destroyed our country, and killed almost everybody–what is the purpose of retaliating against their population (which, by and large, would be just as innocent as ours)". NK doesn't have the ability to create destruction on such a level. Therefore, there would still be a United States (and many other countries) to protect. And such protection would be achieved by denying NK the ability to strike again, and by setting a precedent to discourage such actions by others.
If Seoul is their first attack, it's game over for NK. But if it's Japan or the US, they still have that ace up their sleeve unless we're prepared to destroy a LOT of NK VERY quickly.
Where does the staggering amount of money needed to fix the country come from? Or would we (the world) do something like set up a new government keeps living conditions the same and just slowly improve them overtime to prevent some kind of… shock? Just to keep costs under control?
I know people have some plans but if you could just beam all the administration off the planet tomorrow would anyone be prepared for the consequences of that?
While the situation in North Korea is certainly more dire, East Germany's economy was also largely incapable of competing and summarily shut down over the next few years, being replaced by new businesses to varying degrees of success.
NK is currently capable to feed itself under normal conditions, and to provide some basic necessities of life. Without a doubt, South Korea would have the means to provide what is missing to get to a basic, yet dignified, quality of life–especially with the certain help of the rest of the world.
I wouldn't worry too much about indoctrination. Look at Germany after WW2 and East Germany after reunification, or Russia after Glasnost, and you'll see that such top-down ideologies have limited staying power once they're no longer enforced. With the sudden availability of sandpaper and toilet paper distinct from each other, it'll be incredibly hard to continue believing in the old myths.
North Koreans probably lack the education to compete in the South's job market, but with an influx of cash, and an economy unshackled, the first years would see a boom in agriculture and construction–industries where North Koreans should be able to participate since they already exist. Some new techniques or materials appearing should increase productivity, but won't be impossible to learn for someone who has experience in those fields.
The structure of North Korea as a police state should actually work to its advantage in the first period, as well as the connections Koreans still feel for their relatives on the other side of the border. I'd be extremely surprised if there were any opposition to new leadership, or any violent or destructive trends.
The real problems will happen after a decade or two, when North Koreans have gotten used to a new standard of living, yet still lack the economic structures the make the South successful. Resentment might grow, in both directions. There'll be "stupid/lazy/obedient North Korean" jokes in the South, and impatience with the continued flow of money required to prop up the flagging economy. Meanwhile, the North will resent the arrogance of the South, start being envious of the success across the former border, and possibly start a long process of making sense of the rapid changes, their identity, and the historical injustice that randomly plunged them into darkness, while others, completely indistinguishable from them, got to enjoy their lives.
Those problems won't be insurmountable, as long as there's some leadership that doesn't budge from the necessity of the process.
By which I mean, I'd chip in to calm him down. I'll buy him a gently used Toyota, tomorrow, if it means he will settle down. I'm not even kidding. I'd even take him at his word. Hell, set up a PayPal account, and make it legal, and I'll send him money every month that he doesn't harass his neighbors. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.
Hmm... We should crowdsource Un's Scotch fund. I'm only partially kidding.
I don't think they are harmless but I also don't think they are suicidal, this just happens to be the only leverage they are willing to use.
The minute they destroy a real city they are game ends and the rest of the world is going to actually do something. They LOSE negotiating power and are inviting in attack against them that will destroy the regeime.
Not only will giving in to demands allow NK to do it again, if they've actually done it once we have to assume they will have done it again or that some other state will because you can get away with it.
In other words: Choosing 3.e means saying "we will allow this to happen again at least once, if not from NK then someone else". Of all the impossible choices with NK, this is the impossiblest. It will cost more lives than the other options.
Is 3.c completely unacceptable to the world? I'm not so sure. "You would now be in a war with China"? No you wouldn't. China would also react to such a thing, and having a "buffer state" is not the same thing as having a sort of ally that is in a hot war of choice with super powers.
Or to put in other words: I Turkey blew up St Petersburg in order to extort Russia, do you think the US would be unconditional allies to Turkey?
After many decades of MAD theory it's on increasingly shaky grounds because we also know that a Russia-US war has environmental impact that just may kill all of humanity even if precision aimed at the enemy.
But this ain't MAD. Destroying a population centre is killing the hostage and asking for another one.
On the "nothing to lose": Of course they do. The leaders are omnipotent beings in their own absolute dictatorship. The proles are not in good shape, but they don't get to decide whom to attack. The deciders have literally everything to lose.
In the book "The Threatening Storm" the former CIA analyst essentially says "Saddam is under the impression that if you have nukes then you can do whatever you want. That ain't how it works, son. Saddam has no understanding of the last 50 years of deterrence theory".
Now, you don't have to agree with me or Pollack, but I think it's fair to say that his interpretation of the theory of deterrence is more likely to be predictive of US kinetic foreign policy actions.
Also the US is used to counting "megadeaths", but since this again isn't MAD, it's not American megadeaths.
I don't know which other option would be best, but I wouldn't visit Soul any time soon.
This reminds me of the Moscow theatre hostage situation, where they demanded Russian military leave Chechnya. They could have as well asked for the Moon to be plucked from the heavens. If Russia had already been on their way out from their own choice, they almost would have had to go back in just as a precedence-setter. If you let your national security and military options be dictated to you, then you are not a superpower.
FYI: Both the film Fail-Safe and 'Dr Strangelove' are based on that book.
See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Strangelove#Fail_Safe
So basically: nothing new.
Predecessor did so before in 1998 (or sometime around that), right?
I would guess you get some special privileges, you are not tied to any regulations but your constrains are budget and supply chain efficiency.
The dictator does not need to explain things to the public, does not need to obey the law so you can have a crazy idea about that machine you want to build and if you can convince one guy, you have it all.
Us Iran relations are currently caught up because of the US alliance with Israel and Saudi Arabia who see Iran as the regional threat, otherwise there would not be such a focus on it. NK on the otherhand is a just a basket case that threatens it's neighbors to get handouts. I feel bad for NK's inhabitants, they are by far the biggest losers in all this.
To claim otherwise is to grasp to non-credible sources, which frankly is a very popular thing to do in this area.
Also, Iran is not one of "those kinds of regimes". It's one of the better countries to live in in the middle east. Apparently it's a cool place to visit too. US allies like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc. are worse.
Yes, there is certain knowledge we could gain by ethically unconstrained experimenting. But the Nazis did not gain much of that.
On a more positive note, religious preferences sometimes gives us willing subjects. Eg the Jehova's Witnesses don't like blood transfusions but do agree with surgery. So surgeon get to come up and practice blood-transfusion-less procedures. (No ethics committee would let you get away with trying these out otherwise when they are still in the alpha phase.)
I also did some recreational ice swimming (and read much more about other maniacs who do it regularly): so I can totally see how hypothermia does not kick in as quickly as people think it would.
There is even an ethical issues section on the wikipedia page. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_human_experimentation
I was thinking of Pernkopf's anatomy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduard_Pernkopf) when i was making the comment. It is not true to say textbooks are based on his work.
But apparently his work is used in books. The argument is that it we use results and data from nazi experiments.
But others, best exemplified by Edward Teller, didn't concern themselves with such liberal arts nonsense, and merrily continued building larger and larger (and–actually more dangerous–smaller) bombs after Germany was long defeated, and before the Cold War's weapon's race had begun.
And, of course, the Trinity test mentioned above only happened three months after Germany's capitulation. Since afaik none of the scientists quit and the Manhattan project continued unabated, the idea that it was solely motivated by the fear of a German bomb seems somewhat...strained.
Luckily we know the answer already:
But just because anti-missile systems weren't used here doesn't mean they don't exist. US/Japan could have decided the missile was probably headed for the Pacific and decided not to intercept. The location and capability of US anti-missile batteries would be strategically useful information for NK, so better to keep them quiet if you don't have to use them.
But I think the idea is to only use them when the launched missile is on a trajectory to hit a target you want to defend. First, it costs money. Second, each time a defensive missile is deployed, there is inherently some information leakage about the defensive capability. So if you're going to make such a disclosure, you want it to count.
This was probably a Hwasong-12, with a range of ~5,000km. It would be a much more difficult target to hit, especially at maximum altitude or on terminal approach (where it would be traveling very fast indeed).
Patriots have gotten much better since the first Gulf War and we have other systems designed to shoot down ballistic missiles, but it's still a very hard problem that we've not completely solved. It seems likely that the reason we've not shot down a North Korean test missile is that there is a high enough possibility of failure that it wouldn't be worth the risk.
Nukes seem peripheral to the core capability of just being able to do enough damage before you can be stopped that anyone is afraid to engage you. (to provide an example; if you watch the news running up to the iraq invasion, many outlets were _very convinced_ we'd see WMD used against us, but that didn't seem to be the primary or even tangential cause for hesitation at the time.)
Put in real terms, if the U.S. strongly believed that N.K. would be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to the pacific northwest accurately in the next year, a preemptive strike by the U.S. that causes massive casualties in S.K. in retaliation might go from unthinkable to "a hard decision that needs careful thought." to those in power in the U.S.
There is a reason China plays ball with them.
I'm just noting that "ability to cause a lot of damage to ally" and "ability to cause a lot of damage to you" can have different weights in the decision process.
> I'm just noting that "ability to cause a lot of damage to ally" and "ability to cause a lot of damage to you" can have different weights in the decision process.
Definitely true. But at this point with so much made in China, Korea, and Japan I'd expect that any big political disruption in East Asia would end up being extremely disruptive to the US even though we wouldn't (in this example) be under attack ourselves.
If NK only had basic missles people wouldn't like them, but they're not a huge threat. The fact they have them and keep making threats is what gives them 'power'.
Everyone is so afraid of the results of an attack that we (the rest of the world) is willing to deal with them and help keep their people out of starvation (to the degree they let us), etc.
If provoked with an attack they retaliate, possibly months later, but don't actually make first strikes. If they did that they would be too dangerous, but if they make it clear they may start nuking people if you go mess with them they suddenly get treated better.
It's their only bargaining chip and they've become EXPERTS at using it to get what they want.
So the question would be what event are they retaliating against here? Who attacked them or so they think isn't taking them seriously enough? I don't follow things close enough to know.
The US president is facing tons of trouble. The 4th biggest city in thebUS is under water and may get hit again in a few days.
NK will likely lead the news tonight.
They know what they're doing. It's not the normal game, but they're not crazy. There is a strategy.
At least that's the commonly accepted view.
Anyone looking for a fight will eventually find one.
NK leadership doesn't think that they'll survive that step.
China's two concerns are avoiding a refugee crisis, and not having a US ally directly on such a sensitive border.
Seoul would certainly face hardship, but is currently willing to help. (Plus they would be happy to have solved their fear of immanent invasion.) However allowing Seoul to help would leave a US ally directly on China's border.
However Seoul's support is faltering as memories fade. In public polls, 56% of South Koreans think that supporting reunification as "essential", but support is much stronger among older generations. If the stalemate lasts a couple more generations, the two countries may not want to reunite.
This may be fixed with the regime change method with open borders.
I'm sure you are correct that the memory will fade and in turn, the desire to help, when there are no longer families that have to meet across the border.
And to think the countries were destroyed for the mere fact that they happened to have 'the wrong system of government'...
The Ukraine gave up their nuclear weaponry, with a promise from the west that we’d protect them.
Only a few years later, Russia is invading the Ukraine right now, and we all don’t do shit.
Well actually, with a promise that the USA and Russia would protect them. So it's not quite so clean cut as saying no one came to my aid. When infact, they were attacked by the people who were going to come to their aid.
They could have joined NATO to get the backing of the full NATO Alliance, but they failed to get that done in 20 years because they didn't want to assure human rights for LGBT community which was a huge wedge issue (probably with massive help from Russian astro-turing). NATO will not allow a country to join that is currently involved in a border dispute. So they are in a bit of a pickle, though not one that should have been too hard to see coming.
This situation has shaken Japan's faith that the USA is willing to honor the agreement with them.
Couple that with the fact that Hokkaido is as far north as you can get in Japan (as far from Tokyo and other major population centers further south, so there may not be missile defense systems there. Israel's Iron Dome only has a range of 70km, so I doubt, even if Japan had better technology, that they'd have one of these set up everywhere across the islands.
Being that Hokkaido is so far north, if you look on a map it's very very close to Russia. Not knowing the exact trajectory that it took, it's plausible that it went over Japanese airspace but was obviously not on a trajectory to impact the island itself. The article doesn't say where it was headed, just that it was in Japanese "airspace", and that it landed off the coast.
So plenty of reasons why it wasn't shot down. I'll add one more: the last thing you want to do is try to shoot down a test rocket and fail. Because if you fail on the test, the enemy will be more willing to believe you'd fail on the real thing, too.
Shooting it down could reveal anti-missile capabilities that may be saved for a more serious impact threat.
Depending on where the missile is projected to land it might be a better idea not to shoot it.
> Missile likely landed off eastern coast of Hokkaido, NHK says.
the issue seems to be, no one wants to be the one that is preemptive in fear of being blamed for setting the whole thing off.
long term is, how does the world protect itself from such as this? is there any true protection possible at this time. Just as the USSR and the USA had too much to lose during the Cold War the US and China, if not Russia, in the mix, all have too much to lose, but smaller states or failing states are a danger. Pretty sure we can list out states of increasing risk. Can any of them be permanent bought off or that a stupid fantasy?
There are also lots of political issues around weaponizing space and deploying interceptors where we would need them. The US had to withdraw from a treaty with Russia in order to build the current system: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Ballistic_Missile_Treaty
It's really hard because of the massive amount of area you need to cover with a system that's basically like shooting a bullet out of the air with another bullet.
If you're interested, odds are the next Prime Minister will be Yuriko Koike.
But besides that, THAAD is for the terminal phase, so that'd not really work well for something that landed ~1000km east of Hokkaido.
You forget that the US is run by someone that makes policy 140 characters at a time and is proud to be "the most militaristic person there is".
So while I agree with your Scotch plan being better I still think they're getting bombed to hell.
At this moment in time, I see bombing as being unlikely. The Norks leaders have been batshit insane since before I was born, and I was hatched in the 50s.
And so now the U.S. president is modeling that behavior: Weird language (fire and fury) and it seems designed to be insincere, and just for laughs. It factually hasn't changed the calculus of KJU.
I feel I need to stress that Trump doesn't scare me. I don't believe he is dumb, I believe he is a fan of gamesmanship. I don't think he is insane. I don't think he is going to cause society to collapse. He scares me exactly none.
I also, unfortunately, need to add that I didn't vote for him and don't particularly approve of him. I'm just not even remotely afraid of him.
I suspect you see what you want to see and draw similarities where there aren't any to worry about. For as much as the politicians change, we keep trudging on. Truly, you'll be alright. It's very unlikely that things will change in a meaningful fashion. We are very much on a trend towards better, and have been for millennia.
Maybe they went this far because all the previous probings confirmed the weakness. How much further will they go? Who else will come out of the woodwork and start strutting around now that nobody has the will or know-how to stop them?
The hypothesis makes a lot of sense, because merely proving Trump's insincerity, and that nothing has actually changed policy wise, has intrinsic value. DPRK did such a missile test in 2009, to much deserved outcry, but there was no escalating response. But this is supposed to be a whole new ballgame.
So is it a new ballgame? Or was that insincere?
So please explain what that can possibly be. Economic sanctions against China?
(I pretty much see the situation as intractable, short of China getting motivated to eliminate their convenient strategic buffer...)
I don't feel bad making a wisecrack since there isn't a substantive story about this on the handful of news outlets I checked.
This story ends with "Developing...", so not having a substantive story might be more a factor of it being a very recent development rather than it being poorly reported or not worth reporting. I'm not sure that's a good metric by which to judge whether it's okay to joke about, at least in the early stages.
What does that have to do with anything? And the story was broken by NHK, what other news sources would you need to confirm this?
I remember reports of Russia's fighter jets crossing (I think) Finland's airspace, which were explained as "one nation testing another's response time and alertness, common events even in peacetime". This was back when there were more Russia-related tensions (the Ukraine annexation thing). I wouldn't be surprised if North Korea is doing that with Japan's airspace.
Flagged for (1) picking the least clear source available (can happen by accident) and (2) editing the title from "appears to have passed over" to "appears to have fired towards" (that's definitely sensationalizing it).