A fireball that lit up the skies in Japan on Tuesday sparked panic among locals who feared a North Korean missile attack, according to a report.

Witnesses who saw a “blue light in the sky” around 9.30 p.m. local time, in the city of Kawagoe, north of Tokyo, made several phone calls on their emergency hotline to the authorities, The Sun reported.

Japan Times quoted Hitoshi Yamaoka, an associate professor of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan saying that the fireball was a small object several centimeters in diameter that caught fire as it entered the earth’s atmosphere.

Footage of the event was also posted online and Chisato Yamauchi, a researcher at Misato astronomical observatory in Wakayama Prefecture, who saw the footage, told Japanese publication, The Asahi Shimbun: "It's a fireball ... a big meteor. Fragments of sand and stone moving through space lit up due to friction upon entering Earth's atmosphere.”

According to the Sun, the light also triggered reactions online with many posting photos and videos of the incident.

The reactions by the locals seemed to portray a fear of being attacked by North Korea which has already fired two ballistic missiles over Japan. At the time, Japanese citizens in the missile’s path were awoken by text warnings of the possible attack and telling them to seek cover, according to the New York Times. The alerts were sent out just four minutes after the missile was launched.

Japan's Defence Minister, Itsunori Onodera, earlier in October told a high-level meeting that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities had grown to an "unprecedented, critical and imminent" level, reports said.

The news also comes after it was reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government was considering developing a stealthy, specialized Japanese cruise missile that could hit ground targets and military bases in North Korea.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump during his Asia tour had said large Japanese orders for U.S.-made military equipment will help it counter the threat from the North Korean ballistic missile. He added that Japan should have shot down the missiles and that buying the weapons would boost both Japanese security and the U.S. economy.

“[Abe] will shoot missiles out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of equipment from the United States,” the president said. “One very important thing is that Prime Minister Abe is going to be purchasing massive amounts of military equipment, as he should.”

“We make the best by far … it’s a lot of jobs for us, and a lot of safety for Japan,” he added, The Guardian stated.

Military forces from the U.S., South Korea, and Japan also tested their response to a possible missile attack by North Korea in October. The exercise lasted two days and took place off South Korea with ships from each country.

At the time of the exercise, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement: ‘The latest exercise is designed to prepare against growing nuclear and missile threats by North Korea.’