North Korea fired off two medium-range ballistic missiles on Sunday, just days after Tokyo committed to acquiring a so-called counterstrike capability that would allow it to strike enemy bases and command sites — including inside the nuclear-armed country.

Both missiles were launched from an area near North Korea's western coast and flew about 500 kilometers, hitting maximum altitudes of around 550 km, before landing in the Sea of Japan in waters outside Japan's exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its coast, State Minister for Defense Toshiro Ino told reporters.

"Since the beginning of this year, North Korea has repeatedly launched missiles at an unprecedented frequency, significantly increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region," Ino said. "This series of escalating provocations by North Korea threatens the peace and stability of our region and the international community and cannot be tolerated."