Sirens sound as North Korea again sends a missile over Japan

TOKYO — Warning sirens blared in northern Japan on Friday when North Korea launched a missile and again when it passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido as residents were just starting their day.

Community loudspeakers instructed people to get inside any building and go to the basement. TV stations relayed the warnings and residents of several prefectures received the emergency messages on their cellphones. Trains and subways on Hokkaido briefly stopped for safety checks.

If practice makes perfect, people in northern Japan got another chance to improve on how they would protect themselves from a future warhead.

It’s the second time Japan’s emergency J-Alert system kicked into action in less than a month, following an earlier North Korean missile flyover on Aug. 29.

No damage was caused by Friday’s missile, which landed in the northern Pacific Ocean. But at an emergency meeting, Hokkaido Gov. Harumi Takahashi said such “repeated reckless acts” by North Korea were unacceptable.

Prefectural emergency official Shuji Koshida said the response went relatively smoothly.

“We could spring into action after the first alert this time,” he said. But he added, “We hope missiles are not launched from North Korea to begin with.”

Officials say there is little more that towns can do to prepare, except for raising public awareness about how to respond.

Many people were just waking up or getting ready for work or school, and just stayed in their homes. Most trains and subways resumed operations in about 10 minutes, and by midmorning the region was generally back to business as usual, though many residents still felt uneasy.

“I hesitated leaving home, and did so only after talking to my family,” a commuter told TBS television in Sapporo, the Hokkaido prefectural capital.

In Yokote in Akita, a prefecture south of Hokkaido, children stayed home until schools sent text messages to their parents saying they could leave about 20 minutes after the missile passed. Some schools asked parents to escort their children to school, though the missile’s route was hundreds of kilometres (miles) away.

In Ofunato, on the eastern coast of Iwate prefecture south of the missile’s path, a fisherman said he was frustrated being interrupted by the missile launch when saury are in season.

In Tokyo, Nobuhiko Kusuda, a resident of the capital, said he felt alarmed when he saw the news on his cellphone. “I strongly feel this is a threat to our daily way of life, putting our lives in danger. I really want them (North Korea) to stop this.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile flew over Japan for about two minutes shortly after 7 a.m., before it finished its 3,700-kilometre (2,300-mile) flight in the Pacific Ocean off Hokkaido’s southeastern coast.

The missile launch followed the U.N. Security Council’s unanimous imposition of new sanctions on North Korea on Monday after its sixth nuclear test.

Just Posted

Christmas season in Red Deer begins with Festival of Trees

The kickoff to the Christmas season in Red Deer is upon us.… Continue reading

Judge allows Mr. Big evidence in murder trial

Two men accused of triple-murder admitted their involvement to undercover police

Red Deer agency supporting for LGBTQ2S+ youth

New report on LGBTQ2S+ youth from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate

Four people arrested after gas and dash

Four people were arrested after an alleged gas and dash in two… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month