Videos reveal the eerie scenes and sirens that residents woke up to in the northern part of the country this morning.
Earlier this year, escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States prompted renewed interest in Japan’s J-Alert warning system, a government-created information network designed to transmit information to residents via email, outdoor speakers and administrative municipalities in the event of a security threat to the country.
This morning, the warning system was activated in the northern part of Japan, after North Korea fired three missiles over the country at 5:58 a.m. The missiles, which fell into the Pacific Ocean approximately 1,180 kilometres (733 miles) east of Cape Erimo on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido at 6:12 a.m., followed a trajectory over the heavily populated Tohoku region.
▼ Cape Erimo in Hokkaido
As the Japanese government confirmed the trajectory of the missiles, the J-Alert system was promptly initiated in the prefectures of Tohoku and its surrounding areas of Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Niigata, and Nagano.
▼ Japan’s Tohoku region, pictured in dark green below
The J-Alert system is used when North Korea launches its ballistic missiles, in order to provide information about the launches and their trajectories via email to those registered to receive the J-Alert via one of the country’s many disaster prevention information apps.
In the event of a much more imminent threat to Japanese soil, a “national protection siren” will sound as part of more drastic measures to safeguard residents, and this is the siren that many residents woke up to this morning.
▼ The J-Alert website states that this siren will sound to alert residents of an approaching missile.
▼ This video shows the siren as it sounded this morning in Nagano Prefecture.
Accompanying the siren was this announcement from local governments, which was relayed via loudspeakers: “A missile has been fired from the West Coast of North Korea in the direction of the Tohoku region. Please take refuge in a solid building or below ground.”
▼ This tweet reveals the announcement that sounded in the area below the missile’s trajectory.
I woke up with a Siren and an announcement that North Korea launched a missile that would possibly hit cities withi… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…—
Joe (@jtnarsico) August 28, 2017
Given that Japanese residents are used to hearing announcements and test sirens relayed from city hall via loudspeakers, some people wondered if the missile launch had really happened or if it was a test announcement.
Sara Kate Ellis (@sarakellis) August 28, 2017
This wasn’t a test, as the warning system was delivered via mobile apps as well, relaying the same message to residents on their mobile phones.
Joe (@jtnarsico) August 28, 2017
While the world waits to find out what the next step will be in the ever-escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States and its allies, people in Japan are relying on the J-Alert system to help them prepare for imminent attacks.
To find out more about J-Alert system and what to do in the event of a military emergency while in Japan, visit the Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal Site for more information.