Japan's alert system against North Korea malfunctions

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Aug. 18, 2017 at 8:20 AM
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Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Japan's national emergency alert system, capable of transmitting urgent messages nationwide during a potential North Korea missile attack, is not functioning properly, Kyodo news agency reported.

A drill conducted Friday across Japan turned up glitches in the J-Alert system, which includes a network of loudspeakers that can relay announcements from Tokyo.

J-Alert is a satellite-based system and provides early warnings to more than 200 Japanese municipalities in the Chugoku and Shikoku regions.

According to Kyodo, any missile Pyongyang would launch targeting the U.S. territory of Guam would fly over Shimane, Hiroshima, Ehime and Kochi prefectures, places where the drills were held on Friday.

J-Alert also transmits to mobile phones and televisions and warns people to take shelter.

In March, Japan conducted an unprecedented civilian evacuation drill in Oga City, Akita Prefecture.

About 100 people took part in the drills.

Other exercises were conducted in April.

Japan's military is taking North Korea's threats seriously and has deployed Patriot Advanced Capability-3 surface-to-air guided interceptors, which will deter missiles if SM-3 interceptors fail to stop a North Korea attack.

Japan is planning to deploy a land-based Aegis missile defense system.

Plans are being expedited following two tests of what North Korea has claimed is its intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-14.

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