JAPAN has issued a false alarm telling citizens to “take shelter” over a non-existent North Korean missile.
JAPAN has issued a false alarm telling citizens to “take shelter” over a non-existent North Korean missile.

‘Take shelter’: Japan’s North Korea missile gaffe

JAPAN has issued a false alarm telling citizens to "take shelter" over a non-existent North Korean missile.

The mistake comes just three days after authorities sent Hawaiian residents into a panic when they sent a text to mobile phones mistakenly warning of an imminent missile attack.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK published an alert on its website and sent a warning to mobile phones and Twitter on Tuesday that read: "North Korea appears to have launched a missile. The government urges people to take shelter inside buildings or underground."

The news service corrected the error five minutes later, with an on-air host bowing deeply in apology.

"This happened because equipment to send a news flash onto the internet had been incorrectly operated. We are deeply sorry," the host said.

It took Hawaii almost 40 minutes to correct its mistake when it sent out an alert on Saturday that read: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

The message understandably sparked panic in the US state, with reports of one person putting children into a storm drain to protect them from the incoming missile.

The message was sent out by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency when a staff member completing a routine test accidentally picked the wrong option on a drop-down menu and pushed out the warning as a live message.

The employee has been "temporarily reassigned" to other duties but has not been sacked.

The Japanese false alarm was also a result of human error, NHK said, but there were no immediate reports of panic in Japan, according to Reuters.

The risk of a missile attack on Japan is real, however, with North Korea repeatedly threatening to target the nation.

The government sent out a genuine alerts to residents in September when North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the northern island of Hokkaido.


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