Japan mistakenly issues earthquake and tsunami alert

May 20th, 2009 - 12:07 pm ICT by admin  

false Tsunami alert at Japan Tokyo, JAPAN (BNO NEWS) – A Japanese government agency mistakenly issued an earthquake alert to residents and media organizations on Wednesday, briefly sparking confusion.

It started when the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a statement saying that a massive and shallow earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 had struck Japan’s Hyuga-nada region. While no one actually reported feeling an earthquake, an international news agency and international news channels immediately went to “breaking news”-coverage.

Earthquakes with such magnitudes, especially so close to the surface, are capable of causing catastrophic damage. It also poses a risk for potential tsunamis. An official for the Japan Meteorological Agency told Reuters that the agency had been holding a drill and that the alert was issued in error, the agency later apologized. Graphics on its website showed that the earthquake was felt throughout the country and a note said tsunami warnings had been issued.

“That would explain why we are not seeing it,” said a spokesman for the United States Geological Survey during a call with BNO News when reports emerged the statement was issued in error. Other news sources, such as the Reuters news agency, ran alerts on the “earthquake”. British news channel Sky News also immediately went to breaking news coverage.

A national Japanese television station also reported that a major earthquake had struck the country, but the mistake was quickly corrected.

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