Japan On N Korean Launch Announcement: Our Bad

“Strong work:”:http://uk.reuters.com/article/usTopNews/idUKTRE53314H20090404

Japan’s government apologized on Saturday for mistakenly announcing that North Korea had launched a rocket, as the nation’s military remained on alert for the expected move by Tokyo’s secretive communist neighbor.


“We caused a great deal of trouble to the Japanese people. This was a mistake in the transmission of information by the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces,” Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters, using the formal name for Japan’s military. “I want to apologize to the people from my heart.”

Kyodo has “quite a bit”:http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=431695 more:

bq. The government released information that ”North Korea appears to have launched a projectile” at 12:16 p.m. via its e-mail-based Em-Net emergency information system, but retracted it five minutes later, saying it was a ”detection failure.”

By way of explanation, mistakes were made.

Here’s an excerpt:

According to the Defense Ministry, the ground-based FPS-5 radar at the ministry’s Iioka research and development site in Asahi, Chiba Prefecture, picked up a trace over the Sea of Japan on the radar screen.

The information was immediately conveyed to the ASDF’s Air Defense Command in the suburbs of Tokyo, but *the person who received it mistook the information for satellite early warning information provided by the U.S. military.*

The satellite early warning information is based on data sent by the U.S. Air Force’s Defense Support Program satellite orbiting the Earth. Equipped with an infrared telescope, it is normally the quickest means to detect ballistic missile launches.

The *erroneous information then got passed onto the SDF’s Central Command Post at the Defense Ministry headquarters, from which it was conveyed to the crisis management center at the prime minister’s office,* according to the ministry.

The prime minister’s office sent an emergency e-mail message to local governments across the country and media organizations based on the false information.

One minute *after the Central Command Post received the launch information, it was notified that the trace had disappeared from the radar screen and that no satellite early warning information had actually been received,* the ministry said.

”They *should have confirmed on computer terminals that satellite early warning information had been received. The mistake could have been avoided if they had done so,”* a ministry official said.

The official said he does not know why the airman at the Air Defense Command mixed up the radar and satellite early warning information.

Read the “whole thing.”:http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=431695


Geoff Forden has “more”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/2241/dprk-blip-on-a-screen on the J/FPS-5 radar which reportedly “saw” the launch.

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