Japan Broadcasts Mistaken North Korean Missile Alert

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. This came days after a similar error occurred in Hawaii.

NHK media group issued the message , 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 deleted the warning after several minutes, issued a correction and apologized several times on air and on other formats. It said a mistake in using the alert system caused the error.

“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 issue alerts for each missile test, and the government has issued emergency notices when the missiles flew over Japan.

Japan is also stepping up its missile intercepting capabilities and conducting missile drills across the country, in which residents, including schoolchildren and elderly people, rush to community centers, cover their heads and duck down. A major drill is planned in downtown Tokyo next week.