As North Korea launched what it claimed to be a space launch vehicle this morning (31st), the emergency warning messages issued by South Korea and Japan differed considerably in terms of time and content.
According to the Japanese government, an evacuation order was sent to Okinawa Prefecture, an area expected to be affected, at around 2:6 a.m., just two minutes after North Korea launched a possible ballistic missile object, through the National Instantaneous Warning System (J-ALERT).
In an evacuation order titled "Information on the Protection of People," Japan said: "Missile launch. Missile launch. It appears that a missile was launched from North Korea. Please take refuge in the building or in the basement."
The evacuation order was delivered through breaking news on major TV broadcasts and text messages on mobile phones from residents of Okinawa Prefecture.
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In comparison, the South Korean government issued a warning to the Baeknyeong Island area at around 4:6 a.m., four minutes later than Japan, saying, "A warning was issued for the Baeknyeong area at 34:6 a.m. today. We urge the public to be prepared to evacuate and to give priority to children and the elderly."
In Seoul, the same message was received at around 29:11 a.m., 6 minutes later than in Japan.
The letter did not give any reason for issuing the alert, and there was no mention of specific response measures, such as where to evacuate, which led to complaints that it only multiplied civil unrest.
Later, at 41:7 a.m., the Ministry of Public Administration and Security sent out a text message again, saying, "We would like to inform you that the alert issued by the Seoul Metropolitan Government is a false order," but did not specify why the alert was wrong.
Japan, on the other hand, lifted the evacuation order, saying, "We announced that a missile appeared to have been launched from North Korea in the direction of Okinawa Prefecture, but it has been confirmed that there is no possibility of it falling into our country or passing through the airspace. We are canceling the evacuation request," according to local public broadcaster NHK.