While North Korea has claimed that their new weapon has put all parts of the United States within reach of a devastating strike, US officials say the latest test was a failure since the missile broke apart on re-entry as the airliner witnessed. According to the report, the best chance the US has in intercepting a ballistic missile is when it is on, or leaving the launch pad. They crashed into the sea near Japan. Cathay Pacific said Monday passengers and crew on the flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong reported witnessing the flight of the Hwasong-15 ICBM.
Four minutes later another Korean Air plane on a Los Angeles-Incheon flight also reported the same sighting to Japanese control, he said.
A Japan Airlines spokesman told the BBC that as of Thursday, all routes were deemed "safe to operate", but they were "prepared to implement any route changes as needed".
North Korea said last week it had tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile yet, which was capable of reaching the United States.
Japan is preparing to acquire precision air-launched missiles that for the first time would give it the capability to strike North Korean missile sites, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said earlier this week. "We remain alert and (will) review the situation as it evolves".
It is very unlikely that a plane would be hit by a random missile, though.
In August, Air France-KLM expanded its no-fly zone around North Korea after a missile test.
Each time North Korea launches a missile, it releases pictures that usually feature Kim Jong Un in an observation stand. Spotting this stand reliably helps the USA determine where and when North Korea may be plotting a launch, according to Panda. In Tokyo, the permanent nuclear test, North Korea is considered as a threat and therefore want to take protective measures.