Kim Jong Un made a dramatic return to the headlines Wednesday, with state-run media reporting that the North Korean leader personally oversaw the successful test of a powerful “hypersonic weapon system” that could provide ammunition to proponents of the need for major shift in Japan’s defense-only security posture.

In a signal of the weapon's importance, it was believed to be the first time since March 2020 that Kim had officially watched over a missile launch, analysts said.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the “hypersonic glide vehicle” tested a day earlier had made a 240-kilometer (150-mile) "corkscrew” maneuver during its flight, slamming into a target in waters 1,000 km away. Photos accompanying the report appeared to show the missile as having been launched from the country’s border with China, over the Sea of Japan and making a left turn after re-entering the atmosphere over waters separating North Korea and Russia from northern Japan.