Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Japan public TV sends mistaken alert warning of North Korean missile launch

Published:Tuesday | January 16, 2018 | 11:32 AM
In this file image made from undated video of a news bulletin aired by North Korea's KRT on September 3, 2017, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un holds the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee. - AP Photo

TOKYO (AP):
Japan's public broadcaster mistakenly sent an alert Tuesday warning citizens of a North Korean missile launch and urging them to seek immediate shelter, then minutes later corrected it, days after a similar error in Hawaii.

NHK television issued the message on its Internet and mobile news sites as well as on Twitter, saying North Korea appeared to have fired a missile at Japan. It said the government was telling people to evacuate and take shelter.

"North Korea appears to have fired a missile," NHK said, adding that a government warning had been issued. "The government: Seek shelter inside buildings and basements."

The false alarm came just days after Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency sent a mistaken warning of a North Korean missile attack to mobile phones across the state, triggering panic.

NHK said the mistake was the result of an error by a staff member who was operating the alert system for online news, but did not elaborate. NHK deleted the tweet and text warning after several minutes, issued a correction and apologised several times on air and on other formats.

"The flash was a mistake," NHK said. "We are very sorry."

Tension has grown in Japan over North Korean missile tests as they have flown closer to Japanese coasts. NHK and other Japanese media generally alert each missile test, and the government has issued emergency notices when the missiles flew over Japan.