Officials in the Japanese city of Yokohama were left red-faced today after mistakenly announcing the launch of a North Korean missile to 40,000 followers on Twitter.
The city,south of Tokyo,prematurely fired its tweet just before noon,announcing North Korea has launched a missile with blank spaces to indicate the exact time.
We received a call from one of our followers who had noticed the mistake. We had the tweet ready and waiting,but for an unknown reason it was dispatched erroneously, said a city official.
The city retracted the tweet about 20 minutes later and apologised to followers of @yokohama_saigai,the official said.
Japan is on full alert ahead of an expected mid-range missile launch by North Korea,with Patriot missiles stationed in its capital to protect the 30 million people who live there.
In addition to PAC-3 batteries,Aegis destroyers equipped with sea-based interceptor missiles have been deployed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
Twitter is wildly popular in Japan,where the ideograph and pictograph-based language is well-suited to the 140 character limit,allowing much more information to be imparted than alphabetic languages like English.