Japan apologizes for J-Alert malfunction after N Korea missile launch

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno apologized Wednesday for the malfunctioning of the government's J-Alert early warning system in nine of Tokyo's island towns and villages after a North Korean ballistic missile launch the previous day.
North Korea on Tuesday morning launched a ballistic missile over the Japanese archipelago for the first time in five years. Information about the launch was mistakenly sent to residents of the towns and villages, although the missile did not fly over the communities.
The J-Alert satellite-based system enables authorities to swiftly send alerts regarding natural disasters or attacks on Japan directly to residents via television, radio, smartphone and other devices.
"We apologize for causing concern to residents in the nine towns and villages," Matsuno, the top government spokesman, said at a regular press conference, adding, "We will promptly improve the problem in the system and work to prevent a recurrence."
Former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday, "In order not to unnecessarily disturb the public, we have to thoroughly consider" how the government sends alerts in emergencies.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Tuesday that North Korea's missile flew 4,600 kilometers, the longest distance ever for one fired by the country, and reached an altitude of 1,000 km.

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