Photo: Reuters / Issei Kato
Photo: Reuters / Issei Kato

Japan’s national broadcaster, NHK, reportedly issued an erroneous warning on Tuesday for Japanese citizens to take cover from an incoming ballistic missile launched by North Korea.

The latest mishap follows a Saturday incident in the US when Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency mistakenly issued a false alarm to residents warning of an incoming ballistic missile that appeared on TV and cell phone alerts.

UPI says that NHK issued the news alert on its website and apps at 6:55 pm, saying “North Korea likely to have launched a missile.” The alert also implied that Japan’s emergency warning system was activated and urged people to seek shelter.

NHK issued a correction within 10 minutes saying the alert was a mistake.

Japan’s largest broadcasting network later issued an apology, saying there were “no reports of problems caused by the mistake” and that a “switching error” was to blame.

The New York Times quoted Makoto Sasaki, a spokesman for NHK, as saying that “staff had mistakenly operated the equipment to deliver news alerts over the internet.”

Panic in Hawaii

In Hawaii’s case, the mistaken missile alert was blamed on an employee who pressed a button labelled “missile alert” instead of the one next to it marked “test missile alert.” The incident briefly sparked pandemonium throughout the state, causing many to run for shelter and take cover.