The Yomiuri Shimbun has found that nearly 250 municipal governments failed the disaster J-Alert system which is responsible for informing citizens of military attacks, natural disasters and various emergencies. Crisis management has come into question as the overall answer to why the system failed is a mystery. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency was forced to send a mass apology email after the plan to report details to residents failed.
The issues with the J-Alert system have been a reoccurring issue as the trial transmissions failed to send information on April 13, when North Korea claimed to have launched a rocket carrying a satellite, and again on June 28 when an earthquake warning drill was issued. Since then, the receiving system has changed, but sadly, not for the better. The device that connects the J-Alert to the city’s disaster wireless system not only failed its first trial at 10am on Wednesday, but its second trial was delayed 30 minutes. It is believed that the setting for the time chime overwrote the J-Alert system thus the city failed to hear a test disaster broadcast.
Governments nationwide have been heavily scrutinized for this mishap and rightfully so. This system is crucial in protecting the lives of citizens as earthquakes and tsunamis are not only common but deal life threatening damage as well which was evident in the 3/11 disaster. The government needs to reevaluate and maintain their alert system otherwise more lives will be lost than saved.[image via Flickr/Adriano Castro]