Japan

Risk Level: Three - Caution

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The primary risk is from debris from missile re-entries striking aircraft overflying the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan. North Korea regularly conducts unannounced missile tests in this area. Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it.

The US prohibits flights across all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan. Several other countries have airspace warnings in place which advise caution due to the risk posed by unannounced rocket launches.

Major events:
2021: North Korea tested some short-range ballistic missiles, and a new long-range cruise missile with a range capable of hitting Japan.
2017: North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles. Both of these landed in the Sea of Japan, well inside the Fukuoka Flight Information Region (Japanese airspace), and significantly, at least one did not re-enter the atmosphere intact – meaning that a debris field of missile fragments passed through the airspace, not just one complete missile.
2015: North Korea gradually stopped notifying ICAO of missile launches, so that aircraft could avoid the launch and splashdown areas.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
USA SFAR 79 07 Sep 2020 18 Sep 2023
OPSGROUP Note To Members: Japan Missile Risk 09 Aug 2017 Ongoing
Source: USA
Reference: SFAR 79
Issued: 07-Sep-20, valid until: 18 Sep 2023
Plain English: Flights are prohibited in all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan, due to the threat posed by unannounced North Korean missile launches and air defense weapons systems.
On November 3, 2017, the FAA issued KICZ Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) A0023/17, prohibiting U.S. civil aviation operations in the entire Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP) due to the hazardous situation created by North Korean military capabilities and activities, including unannounced North Korean missile launches and air defense weapons systems. This amendment to SFAR No. 79 incorporates the November 3, 2017 NOTAM's expanded flight prohibition into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The FAA finds this action necessary due to continued hazards to U.S. civil aviation operations in the entire Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP).
Source: OPSGROUP
Issued: 09-Aug-17, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Since 2015, North Korea has been test-launching missiles with increasing regularity. The absolute lack of warning, coupled with an emerging picture of a focus area for re-entry, creates a risk to flight operations in the western portion of Japan’s Fukuoka FIR over the Sea of Japan. Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it. Check routings carefully for arrivals/departures to Europe from Japan, especially if planning airways which connect with the UHHH/Khabarovsk FIR at waypoints IGROD and AVGOK.
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