North Korea has fired a missile that has passed over the north of Japan before landing in the sea, the Japanese state broadcaster has said.

The projectile is reported to have broken into three pieces before it landed and there was no attempt made to shoot it down as it flew over Japanese territory at dawn on Tuesday (29 August).

It flew for around 1,650 miles, reaching a maximum altitude of 340 miles, South Korean officials said.

Although North Korea has tested missiles several times, it is the first one to go over Japan in eight years.

The broadcaster NHK said there were no signs of damage but that people in its flight path needed to take precautions.

It follows Pyongyang's firing of three short-range missiles into the sea on Saturday (26 August).

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was doing what it could to protect lives.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described the latest test as "an unprecedented, grave threat", the BBC reported.

However the test did not pose a threat to the US, the Pentagon said as it gathered further intelligence about it. Earlier in August, North Korea threatened to fire missiles at the US Pacific territory of Guam.

South Korea's National Security Council has been convened. Meanwhile the UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson described it as a "reckless provocation".

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un smiles during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo KCNA/via Reuters