South Korea has confirmed that North Korea fired short-range missiles toward the Sea of Japan.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry says Friday's missile launches were part of an annual military exercise. The ministry points out that South Korea also holds routine firings of short-range missiles four times a year.

Last July, North Korea sparked international outrage when it tested missiles, including a long-range rocket. Pyongyang also conducted its first known nuclear test in October.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Pyongyang stop its missile program. The Council also required members to block Pyongyang from receiving or selling missile-building technology and materials.

Japan has been especially wary of North Korean missile launches since 1998, when a long-range rocket passed directly over Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean.

Short-range missiles are not capability of reaching Japan from North Korea.