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The Japanese government will launch a new service on Tuesday designed to notify users of the country’s three major phone networks if they are facing an imminent inbound missile strike.

The new alert system will be co-ordinated by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency and is most likely a response to the threat of attack by North Korea, which has in the past test-fired missiles over Japan.

Users of Docomo, KDDI’s au service and Softbank Mobile in affected areas will be sent an email to their phones in the event of an attack, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

Presumably the email also triggers some kind of audio alert.

The initiative will be part of J-Alert, a free disaster notification service launched in 2007 which has hitherto been focused on providing info about earthquakes and tsunamis.

J-Alert uses satellite communications to allow local authorities in affected areas to quickly broadcast breaking alerts via a nationwide network of loudspeakers. A message is also sent to mobile phone users.

Unpredictable North Korea fired two Rodong mid-range ballistic missiles last Wednesday, landing in the Sea of Japan which separates the two nations.

The hermit state also threatened to carry out a “new form” of nuclear test, which will cause renewed jitters among its Asian neighbours.

Although NORKS is unlikely to deliberately fire on Japan, it has in the past launched missiles that have sailed over the country, raising the possibility that debris could fall to earth.

The original government press release can be found here in Japanese. ®

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