North Korea's state-run news agency says the country launched a rocket carrying a military reconnaissance satellite from the Sohae station in the northwestern part of the country at 6:27 a.m. on Wednesday.
The Korean Central News Agency says the rocket's propulsion system failed due to an abnormality and it crashed into the Yellow Sea on the western side of the Korean Peninsula.
The agency added that North Korea will conduct a second launch as soon as possible.
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on Wednesday morning said that what is believed to be a ballistic missile was launched from North Korea.
He said he had issued the prescribed prime minister's orders, and that no damage has been reported so far. He added the government is analyzing further details.
Multiple government officials say the suspected ballistic missile has disappeared over the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean Peninsula. They say it is believed that no object has been put into space so far.
South Korea's military says the apparent ballistic missile was launched southward from Tongchang-ri in the country's northwest. North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launching Station is located there.
Authorities in North Korea had warned they would launch what they call a "satellite" sometime over the next week and a half. But officials in Japan believe the exercise will be a test of ballistic missile technology. And they feared whatever the North Koreans send up could pass over their territory.
Pyongyang notified Japan's government on Monday of the time frame for its planned blastoff.
A senior official of the ruling Workers' Party said on Tuesday his country will launch its first military spy satellite in early June.
Japan's government says North Korea had not issued any notice of a change in the launch window and that the firing could happen on Wednesday.
It says the launch will use ballistic missile technology, regardless of the North Korean terminology, and any launch by Pyongyang violates UN Security Council resolutions.
Japan's government also says the projectile could fly over an area close to the Sakishima Islands in Okinawa Prefecture and that it is prepared to issue evacuation information promptly. The alert will be issued through the J-Alert emergency warning system.
The Self-Defense Forces have been ordered to destroy any projectile fired by North Korea if it appears likely to fall within Japanese territory.
Destroyers equipped with the Aegis missile-tracking system, which has advanced radar and interceptor missiles, are on standby around the clock in the East China Sea.
Land-based PAC-3 interceptor systems have been deployed in Naha City and on the Sakishima Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, as well as the premises of the Defense Ministry in Tokyo.
The Ground Self-Defense Force has sent units to Okinawa that are tasked with removing hazardous materials and rescuing injured people in the event of a ballistic missile falling in the area.
It is possible that a de facto ballistic missile could pass over Okinawa Prefecture about 10 minutes after its launch.