The employee who inadvertently triggered a statewide panic in Hawaii with a false ballistic missile alert on Saturday has since been reassigned. Whether or not this response meets Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) condemnation of the “unacceptable” incident remains to be seen, but it seems false alarms regarding possible military action by North Korea are going around. That’s because a Japanese broadcaster did the same thing on Tuesday.
According to CNN, NHK alerted mobile phone users with an automated “news alert” message that read, “North Korea likely to have launched missile. The government J alert: evacuate inside the building or underground.” Unlike what transpired in Hawaii on Saturday, however, NHK’s mistake was quickly corrected. After apologizing on air and via a subsequent text alert, the national broadcaster stated, “The news alert sent earlier about NK missile was a mistake. No government J alert was issued.”
As for what initially caused the false alert to be sent out in the first place, Reuters reports NHK is still investigating. “We are still checking,” a spokesperson explained. Seeing as how gross human error and systemic inadequacies were blamed for Saturday’s false alarm in Hawaii, however, it’s likely something similar occurred in Japan. Yet unlike Hawaii, it seems NHK’s false alarm was so quickly corrected that “there were no immediate reports of panic or other disruption” as a result.