It’s hard to imagine a more terrifying text message than one that reads “Incoming ballistic missile detected. Please find shelter.”
Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency announced this morning that their alert system — similar to the one you might’ve seen lately for broadcasting AMBER alerts to your phone in the U.S. — will now automatically warn local mobile users of ballistic missile launches and major terror attacks. This system was first built to warn of earthquakes and potential tsunamis.
The messages will automatically be sent to mobile users in effected areas, with one caveat: the system is currently only up-and-running on Japan’s three largest mobile networks, NTT Docomo, Softbank, and KDDI.
With over 115 million subscribers across these three networks, that means it’ll reach around 90% of Japan’s population. For those without mobile phones, local governments will continue to broadcast warnings through traditional systems (like loudspeakers, or sirens)