'Take shelter': Japan's North Korea missile gaffe

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Japanese broadcaster NHK sent out a false missile alert on Tuesday, announcing that North Korea had launched an attack and urging people to take shelter.

According to CNN, NHK sent a message to users of its phone app that said, "NHK news alert".

The news service corrected the error five minutes later, with an on-air host bowing deeply in apology. The people of Hawaii spent roughly thirty minutes saying their goodbyes and desperately trying to find shelter before a correction was issued.

The message understandably sparked panic in the USA state, with reports of one person putting children into a storm drain to protect them from the incoming missile.

This comes just two days after a similar incident happened in Hawaii when an employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency hit the live alert button while doing a routine test.

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There were no immediate reports of panic or other disruption following the Japanese report.

"North Korea appears to have fired a missile", NHK said, adding that a government warning had been issued.

The mistake took place at a tense time in the region following North Korea's largest nuclear test to date in September and its claim in November that it had successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach all of the United States mainland.

Ajit Pai, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman, said on Sunday that Hawaii didn't have "reasonable" safeguards in place to prevent erroneous alerts like the one Saturday.

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