A TV screen shows a file image of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on March 5, 2022InternationalIndiaAfricaTOKYO (Sputnik) – The Japanese government has sanctioned three North Korean officials involved in the development of nuclear and missile programs of North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s launch of a Hwasong-17 ballistic missile on Thursday, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Friday. “These provocative actions, taken with unprecedented frequency, constitute a serious and imminent threat and are totally unacceptable,” Matsuno told a briefing. According to a Japanese Foreign Ministry’s statement, the new sanctions list includes Jon Il Ho, the deputy head of the Munitions Industry Department, Kim Su Gil, the former director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, and Yu Jin, a former head of the Munitions Industry Department. The restrictive measures include a ban on any form of transaction with the three North Koreans and the freeze of all their assets in Japan if found, the statement said.On Thursday, Japan’s Defense Ministry said that North Korea launched a suspected ballistic missile from Sunan District in Pyongyang toward the Sea of Japan. The missile flew for about 70 minutes and presumably landed at 8:19 a.m. local time (23:19 GMT on Wednesday) 125 miles from Oshima Island in Hokkaido, outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. The missile traveled some 620 miles at an altitude of 3,728 miles, according to the Japanese military. The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported on Friday that North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday in response to joint military drills, held by the United States and South Korea. North Korea has repeatedly warned the allies against building up military presence near the Korean peninsula and has criticized US-South Korean joint drills as a preparation for invasion. It has launched several ballistic missiles off the eastern coast since the start of the year.