National

NHK issues false missile alert on heels of Hawaii error

Kyodo, Staff Report

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK on Tuesday erroneously issued an online bulletin saying that North Korea had fired a missile, as the nation remains on high alert for provocations from the neighboring country.

The broadcaster sent out a news flash stating, “North Korea likely to have launched a missile. J-Alert. Government urges evacuation to the inside of a building or underground,” around 6:55 p.m. on its news site and app indicating that it was quoting J-Alert, the government’s emergency warning system.

Several minutes later, NHK posted a message on its news site that the bulletin was an error and that no J-Alert warning had been issued. A news presenter also acknowledged the mistake during the broadcaster’s “News 7” program.

According to the organization, an employee had erroneously activated a device for sending out news flashes online.

“J-Alert provides extremely important information that affects the safety and security of Japanese citizens. We want NHK to do their utmost to prevent a recurrence,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular news conference Wednesday.

The mistake comes days after Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency on Saturday mistakenly sent an alert about an incoming ballistic missile to residents across the state. The island state’s Cold War warning system was brought back online in the wake of the growing North Korean missile threat.

The alert, caused by a human error, read, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”