Just After Midnight, NK 'Gift' Was Sent. Except It Wasn't

Public broadcaster NHK sent out incorrect report that North Korea had launched a missile
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2019 6:10 AM CST
Just After Midnight, a NK 'Gift' Was Sent. Except It Wasn't
People watch a TV showing a file image of an unspecified North Korean missile launch during a news program in Seoul, South Korea, on Oct. 31, 2019.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

North Korea's "Christmas gift" to the US never came (at least that we know of), but a news alert sent in Japan early Friday temporarily scared people into thinking the gift had been delivered. Reuters reports that a few minutes after midnight, public broadcaster NHK put out a news bulletin proclaiming that a North Korean missile had been launched and landed in waters to the east of Japan's northernmost island. The alert—which came amid fears that the possible "gift" the North referenced might turn out to be a long-range missile test—was posted on NHK's website and pushed to users' phones via NHK's apps.

The problem? Per the Guardian, there were no reports that North Korea had launched any Christmas Day missiles or conducted other tests that could've been interpreted as its promised holiday offering. NHK soon stated that the bulletin had simply been a media training alert. "We apologize to our viewers and the public," the broadcaster noted on its site; it also explained the mix-up on its apps, TV, and the radio within 30 minutes of the bulletin, a company rep says, per Reuters. NHK promised it would take a closer look at its procedures regarding emergency drills such as this, which it holds frequently. The broadcaster made a similar goof in January 2018, sending out an alert saying there'd been a North Korea missile launch; there hadn't. (More Japan stories.)

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