"We can never tolerate that North Korea trampled on the international community's strong, united resolve toward peace that has been shown in UN resolutions and went ahead again with this outrageous act," Abe told reporters.
"If North Korea continues to walk down this path, it has no bright future. We must make North Korea understand this," he added.
Japan was jolted awake in the early hours by an alert saying North Korea had fired a missile over its northern island of Hokkaido, the second such launch in less than a month.
Abe called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and stressed: "Now is the time for the international community to be united."