In an era of uncertainty and tensions in Asia, the least you can expect is from a Japan’s public broadcast channel mistakingly reporting that North Korea had launched a missile which landed off the country’s north island of Hokkaido in the early hours of Friday.
NHK reported on its website and news app at 12.22 am, but corrected the error about 20 minutes later, according to the Nikkei daily business paper.
The broadcaster has however tendered a public apology for the mistake, saying it had been intended for “training purposes”.
The original report stated that the missile had landed in the sea about 2,000km east of Hokkaido.
North Korea had in 2017 filed missiles that landed on the island to prove its ability to strike US military targets on the Pacific island of Guam.
Millions of residents in northern Japan took cover that year in sturdy buildings or underground.
Denuclearisation Talks Between the US and North Korea
Recall that Pyongyang’s end-of year deadline is just around the corner for the US to make concessions to bring alive stalled denuclearisation talks.
Speculation that the North is preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile rose after its foreign ministry recently warned it would send the US a “Christmas gift” depending on what concessions Washington was prepared to make.
But there were no reports of missile of other tests by the regime on Christmas Day.
NHK was forced to apologise in January 2018 after mistakenly sending out a J-alert warning that North Korea had fired a missile.
The error drew a rebuke from the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga. “J-alert provides extremely important information that affects the safety and security of Japanese citizens. We want NHK to do their utmost to prevent a recurrence,” Suga said.