Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

KRT via AP Video

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said a North Korean ballistic missile has passed over Japan, per CNBC, noting it's an "unprecedented, serious and grave threat." It landed in the ocean, according to Japan's chief Cabinet secretary and broke into three pieces, per Japanese broadcaster NHK. Yonhap News Agency reports it flew about 2700 km, which would indicate it was a medium-range missile.

  • South Korea's presidential office is convening a National Security Council meeting, per Yonhap News Agency.
  • The Japanese government warned citizens in northern Japan to take cover in solid buildings or underground shelters, per CNBC.
  • A new step: This appears to be the first time North Korea's launched a ballistic missile over Japan, and marks an aggressive escalation; normally tests are shot upwards or "lofted." North Korea has previously launched rockets over Japan, which it has claimed it was doing to put satellites, not weapons, in space, per BBC. The key difference here is rockets are unguided whereas missiles have a guidance system to steer towards a target.

Why it matters: Josh Pollack, Editor of The Nonproliferation Review, told Axios, "this is a big first. They warned they might do this back in early June and then again a few weeks ago in connection with Guam. But the Japanese are bound to be angered and dismayed. Not that there's much they can do."

Be smart: Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations tweeted, "N Korea missile test over Japan will stimulate missile defense buildup as well as intensify consideration of preventive military action"

Japan did not attempt to shoot down the missile according to NHA, a Japanese broadcaster. Col. Rob Manning, director of press operations at the Department of Defense, said this did not pose a threat to North America, ABC News reports.

This comes amid U.S. and South Korean joint military exercises, which North Korea perceives as rehearsal for invasion. August 28 was the final day of exercises for thousands of Japanese and U.S. troops in northern Japan. North Korea also launched three projectiles this weekend, which U.S. Pacific Command assessed to not be a threat to the U.S.The post has been updated to reflect that North Korea has reportedly previously employed satellite launch vehicles that sent rockets over Japan.

Go deeper

58 mins ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Collective.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"