Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Japan dealt severe blow in bid for last 4 in curling

Japan dropped a crucial game to Switzerland 10-4 in eight ends in the women’s curling tournament at the Vancouver Olympics on Monday. Japan took its fourth loss in seven games and fell into a fifth-place tie with Germany in the 10-team round-robin standings.

Switzerland sat in fourth place with a 4-3 record. The top four teams will move on to the knockout stage of the tournament.

The Swiss curlers had four points in the fourth end to extend their lead to 6-2 before adding two each in the sixth and eighth ends.

‘‘Those four points really hurt us. We might’ve had a chance of turning things around if we limited them to two or so in that fourth end,’’ said Japanese skip Moe Meguro. ‘‘I’ll work on my delivery for the remaining two games to keep our hopes alive for a place in the last four.’‘

Host Canada (6-1) regained sole possession of the lead after a 6-2 win over defending champion Sweden (5-2). World champion China (5-3) remained in third place.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Rio wins bid for 2016 Olympics; Tokyo eliminated in 2nd round

Tokyo’s hopes of hosting the 2016 Olympics were shattered Friday as the Japanese capital was eliminated in the second round of voting by the International Olympic Committee.

Rio de Janeiro was named the winner of rights to stage the 2016 Games, beating Madrid in the final round of voting to become the first South American Olympic host. Rio had 66 votes to Madrid’s 32.

Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting before Tokyo’s exit left the race down to the Rio and Madrid. Tokyo had 22 votes in the first round and 20 in the second.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama released a statement Saturday congratulating the Brazilian people on Rio de Janeiro’s win in a bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

‘‘I want to offer my heartfelt appreciation for the citizens of Tokyo and athletes,’’ said Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara. ‘‘Let’s use this precious experience, while tackling environmental issues and contribute to the development of world cities. I pray for the success of the Games in Rio de Janeiro.’’

Under host city voting procedures, the city with the fewest number of votes in each successive round of balloting is eliminated until one city has reached a majority of the valid votes cast.

It was Japan’s third consecutive failed bid to win the rights to hold the Summer Games. Nagoya lost out to Seoul for the 1988 Olympics, while Osaka was eliminated in the first round of voting for the 2008 Games, which went to Beijing.

‘‘It’s a pity. We united as a team and did everything we could,’’ said Japanese Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda.
‘‘There is a winner and a loser and this time we couldn’t win but we have also gained something. We have to figure out how to go for the 2020 Olympics.’’

About 500 people who gathered at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building could not help but sigh early Saturday when Tokyo was eliminated from consideration for the 2016 Olympics in the second round of voting.

When International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge announced the elimination of Tokyo in a live image displayed on a large screen, those gathered in a hall on the fifth floor of the building let out sighs of disappointment.

Vice Tokyo Gov Hiroshi Sato, Japanese Olympic Committee members and athletes, including Yuko Arimori, a marathon runner who won the silver medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, gathered there to support Tokyo’s bid for the host city of the 2016 Olympics and watch the results of the IOC voting.

Hiromi Miyake, a Japanese female weightlifter, said, ‘‘I was excited because I thought Tokyo would be selected as Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting.’’

In an event held at Tokyo Tower to support the Japanese capital’s bid, the venue was covered by a festive mood when Tokyo moved to the second round of voting, but hopes were dashed within a few minutes as Tokyo was eliminated.

‘‘It’s very frustrating,’’ said hurdler Dai Tamesue. Fashion designer and event producer Kansai Yamamoto, who represented supporters for Tokyo’s bid, said, ‘‘It’s like going from the top to the bottom on a roller coaster.’’

But he added, ‘‘We have a chance again in four years.

Tokyo was left to rue what might have been after efforts failed to convince the IOC that it could stage ‘‘the most compact and efficient Olympic Games ever.’’

JOC Vice President Tomiaki Fukuda said he was surprised at Madrid staying alive.

‘‘I thought Madrid would be eliminated. There is a possibility that it won votes out of sympathy for (former IOC president Juan Antonio) Samaranch. It’s a real shame. I want Tokyo to bid for the Olympics one more time.’’

Samaranch had appealed for the Spanish capital, reminding IOC members that, at age 89, ‘‘I am very near the end of my time.’’

During Tokyo’s final presentation ahead of the vote Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama urged the IOC to pick Tokyo during a heartfelt speech, saying it was ‘’ well positioned to serve as a future model of public safety and environmental stability.’’

The host of Asia’s first Olympics in 1964, Tokyo won praise from the IOC in an evaluation report last month for its vision and concept to stage a compact Olympic Games and a solid financial plan.

It had planned to use several renovated venues from the 1964 Games while its Olympic Stadium would have been be the first in the world to be powered by solar energy.

Amid the global economic downturn, Tokyo had also secured a special 400 billion yen budget for the Games.

During the IOC bid evaluation committee’s visit to Tokyo in the spring, committee chairwoman Nawal El Moutawakel said the inspectors were most impressed by the concept of hosting an Olympics, in which 97 percent of the venues would be located within 8 kilometers of the Olympic Stadium.

Initial concerns, though, had been raised regarding Tokyo’s lack of public support, while low marks in the evaluation report were also given for existing venues, operations and land area for the athletes’ village.

Although there is no official IOC continental rotation policy, Tokyo faced another obstacle in trying to bring the games to Asia so soon after Beijing staged last year’s Games.

from: robladin.com

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tension mounts, tempers fly ahead of 2016 Olympic host city vote

The International Olympic Committee is no stranger to tough decisions. It took the risk of sending the games to Beijing and said “No” to New York in the aftermath of 9/11. Yet, despite all of that accumulated experience, some IOC members are struggling with their latest conundrum: choosing the Olympic host for 2016.

Just two days ahead of the vote, many were undecided.

And that means two things—it’s still too close to call between Rio de Janeiro, Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid and, for the next couple of days, IOC members are going to feel that they are the most popular people on the planet. Everyone in Copenhagen, where they are gathered, seemingly wants to be their new best friend.

Want to meet Michelle Obama? Not a problem if you’re an IOC member who needs a little pointer on which way to vote. The first lady, beating her husband to the Danish capital, has a two-room suite in the IOC hotel, with homely white leather furniture and an interactive table that, at the touch of a hand, gives bird’s eye views of how a Chicago Olympics might look.

Mrs Obama arrived Wednesday, two days ahead of the U.S. leader, and got straight to work on impressing IOC members.

“We’re not taking anything for granted, so I’m going to go talk to some voters,” she said.

IOC members who have been through this selection process repeatedly, previously sending the games to London, Beijing, Athens and Sydney, told The Associated Press that they could not remember a tougher choice. The AP canvassed the opinions of a dozen IOC members. With all four cities seen as amply capable, technically at least, of holding the Olympics, they said much will ride on how well or badly the cities make their case in final 45-minute presentations to the IOC on Friday before the successive rounds of secret balloting.

“I have two favorites,” IOC member Nicole Hoevertsz said. “It’s going to come down to the last, last presentation. It’s going to come down to the last minute.”

As tension mounted, so did tempers. Despite fresh IOC warnings that the cities should avoid criticizing their rivals, the Spanish Olympic Committee’s vice president, Jose Maria Odriozola, told the national Efe news agency that “Rio is the worst bid.”

Rio bid organizers said the criticism was “totally unacceptable” and formally complained to the IOC.

The outcome Friday could hinge on which cities are eliminated first and, if and when their favorites are knocked out, how IOC members subsequently line up behind the other candidates. That makes predicting a winner perilous and means that even members who say they already have made their choice are still worth lobbying.

“It is difficult enough to know where the first-round votes are going to go, so trying to imagine where the swinging votes are going to go is impossible,” said Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr, whose father served as IOC president for 21 years.

“Events in the next 48 hours will decide the winner, because they will have a significant influence on the second- and third-round votes,” he said.

Samaranch said he believes nearly all the IOC’s 106 members already have a favorite. But IOC vice president Chiharu Igaya said “many” members are undecided.

Added British IOC member Craig Reedie: “This is really close. The closer it gets the more people will say, let me think about it. We all want to see the presentations. It’s what people see that will count. Decided? No, I haven’t actually. I’m getting close.”

Late, high-powered lobbying can be important—as then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, proved when London campaigned successfully for the 2012 Olympics. Blair traveled to Singapore ahead of the vote and spent two days lobbying members, inviting them to his hotel suite for one-on-one meetings.

Chicago tore a leaf from Blair’s playbook: Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett met with him last week to solicit his advice and get tips on navigating the IOC voting process.

But for the first time, there are no IOC executive board meetings in the days leading up to the vote. That means less opportunity for schmoozing.

IOC votes can be highly unpredictable. Aside from the paramount questions of whether bidding cities’ Olympic plans are technically and financially feasible, emotion, sentiment, geography, politics, self-interest and other factors also play a role.

In Copenhagen, there’s also the star factor, with Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva already here to lend heavyweight backing to their cities and President Barack Obama jetting in for a few hours on Friday to bolster Chicago’s presentation.

Willi Kaltschmitt, an IOC member since 1988, said the VIP presence would reassure voters that cities’ bids are fully backed by their governments but would be only one of many factors.

Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper said after meeting with Mrs Obama, however, that she and the U.S. leader “could have an influence on marginal votes.”

IOC members used to visit candidate cities but that was stopped because of concerns about bribery. Now, they rely on IOC reports, presentations and lobbying to inform their decisions.

“Since we’re not allowed to visit the cities, it comes down to the very, very little details,” Hoevertsz said.

Ultimately, the choice may hinge on whether IOC members want to make a bold statement by sending the Olympics to South America for the first time or chose more familiar territory. The United States, Spain and Japan have all previously held the Summer Games. Chicago could also be seen as more lucrative in these tough economic times.

“One of the things that is very important to us now is the economic recession,” said IOC member Nat Indrapana, adding that when cities made their cases to the IOC in June, “Chicago made a beautiful presentation.”

The city receiving the fewest votes will be eliminated after each round until one candidate secures a majority. The vote is expected to go the maximum three rounds.

IOC member Samih Moudallal said it will be like choosing between “four sons or your brothers.”

“How do you choose between your brothers?” Moudallal said, adding that he has yet to make his selection. “You have to use your mind and your heart together.

“It’s a very difficult choice.”

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nikkei flat after hitting 8-mth high, US rates weigh

Nikkei flat after hitting 8-mth high, US rates weigh

Japan's Nikkei average edged above 10,000 to an eight-month high on Thursday before paring gains, with worries about rising U.S. interest rates offsetting an increase in steel shares on a brokerage upgrade.

Nippon Steel Corp (5401.T) shot up nearly 6 percent after Morgan Stanley lifted its rating on the sector to "attractive" from "in-line," saying it was time to shift to an aggressive investment stance as uncertainties surrounding the sector have started to resolve.

But market analysts said rising U.S. interest rates weighed on investors confidence, limiting further gains, as they could put a damper on consumer and business spending.

On Thursday, Japanese government bond prices fell, with the 10-year yield rising to its highest level since late October.

The benchmark U.S. Treasury yield climbed to an eight-month high the previous day, sending Wall Street lower as higher yields act as a benchmark for many lending rates. [US/] [.N]

"Generally speaking, the upward trend in the stock market is continuing as economic stimulus measures taken by governments around the world are still having an impact," said Takashi Kamiya, chief economist at T&D Asset Management.

"But rising U.S. rates pose a huge concern to the stock market. Higher interest rates will dampen an economic recovery and they would make bonds more attractive to investors, compared to stocks."

The benchmark Nikkei .N225 was flat at 9,991.05, after rising as high as 10,022.23 in morning trade, its highest since October 7 and a rise of roughly 43 percent from its March bear market low.

The broader Topix inched up 0.3 percent to 939.63.

As of Wednesday's close, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI had risen some 35 percent and the S&P 500 .SPX some 41 percent from their March lows.

The Nikkei this week climbed above its 52-week moving average, which now comes in around 9,800, but analysts say it needs to break above 10,500 to enter a bull market.

The 10,500-10,800 range has provided strong support and resistance in the past, most notably in late 2003 to 2004, and is also significant because 10,800 is a 50 percent retracement from last year's closing high of 14,489 to the March closing trough of 7,054.

Data showed Japan's economy contracted a revised 3.8 percent in the first three months of this year, better than economists' median forecast, though the market largely shrugged this off. [ID:nT193265]

The mood on the streets of Tokyo remained bleak, despite the Nikkei's brief rise above 10,000.

Yukari Tani, a 32-year-old cosmetics sales clerk, who was in Tokyo for business, shrugged off the Nikkei's spike.

"There's nothing around me that makes me feel the economy is turning around," Tani said.

"A lot of my friends are switching jobs lately and I heard many of their companies were offering early retirement."


Steel stocks held onto gains made after Morgan Stanley lifted its rating on the sector. The brokerage also raised its rating on Nippon Steel to "overweight" from "equal-weight" and hiked the company's target price to 480 yen from 270 yen.

Nippon Steel jumped 5.7 percent to 393 yen, while JFE Holdings Inc (5411.T) climbed 3.7 percent to 3,350 yen and Kobe Steel Ltd (5406.T) advanced 4.9 percent to 193 yen.

Olympus Corp (7733.T) soared 12.7 percent to 2,355 yen after Deutsche Securities doubled its target price for the maker of digital cameras and medical devices to 3,230 yen on cost cuts and brisk endoscope sales.

Shares of electronics group Toshiba (6502.T) shot up 6.2 percent to 377 yen after Nomura Securities lifted its rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral," and raised its target price to 560 yen from 320 yen.

Nomura said that investor focus on the company will likely shift to its global growth potential.

But selling among a broad swathe of shares, including index heavyweights such as Honda Motor Corp (7267.T) and other exporters, weighed on the Nikkei average as profit-taking emerged after recent gains and amid worries about U.S. interest rates.

Honda lost 1.4 percent to 2,845 yen, while TDK Corp (6762.T) fell 1.4 percent to 4,380 yen and Sony Corp (6758.T) shed 0.7 percent to 2,680 yen.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

NKorea bans ships off port from Wednesday

North Korea is warning ships to stay out of waters off its eastern port of Wonsan for three weeks from Wednesday, the Japan Coast Guard said, raising concerns Pyongyang is planning more missile tests.

North Korea is alerting vessels by radio not to enter an area that measures 100 by 263 kilometres (60 by 165 miles) at its widest points from June 10 to 30 between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, a coast guard spokesman said Monday.

"We have acknowledged the information and soon afterward issued the same warning to those who may travel in this region," the spokesman said.

The news came amid increasing speculation that North Korea is preparing to test-fire several medium-range missiles from its southeast coast.

At least three missiles are apparently being prepared for launch from a missile base in Anbyon County, near Wonsan, a port city about 100 kilometres northeast of Seoul, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.

The report said that several vehicles mounted with mobile launch pads were spotted at the base.

The Japan Coast Guard picked up a similar warning in May, only days before Pyongyang conducted its second nuclear test and also launched a series of short-range missiles.

"We can't deny the possibility that North Korea is moving toward launching missiles, including ballistic missiles, in response to developments related to a UN Security Council resolution," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura.

"We are doing everything to secure the peace and security of Japan and its people, while collecting and analysing information."

South Korean and US forces on the peninsula are on heightened alert after the North threatened a possible attack in response to Seoul's decision to join a US-led initiative to halt the trade in weapons of mass destruction.

The North has also warned of "self-defence measures" in response to any tougher international sanctions.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Relatives of Aso mine's British laborers demand apology and compensation

Campaigners are calling on Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso to apologize and offer compensation to the families of British men who were forced to work at a mine owned by Aso’s father during World War II. They are also urging the prime minister to resign because they feel he failed to acknowledge for several years his family firm’s role in the use of slave labor, despite evidence to the contrary in the United States.

James McAnulty, from Glasgow, Scotland, was shocked when he learned a few months ago that the mine in which his father toiled was owned by Aso Mining Co.

McAnulty’s father, who passed away in 1971, spent long hours at the Fukuoka Prefecture mine shoveling up coal and pushing wagons.

He was there between June and September 1945 when he was liberated. The former POW told his son many tales about his time at the mine and the nearby camp where they lived.

McAnulty said his father received beatings by the guards for being unable to correctly recite his prisoner number in Japanese and also witnessed one Australian POW ‘‘disappear’’ after getting the upper hand over the guards who would practice their judo throws on the POWs, according to his son.

McAnulty, 62, told Kyodo News, ‘‘He (my father) said there was a lack of food and the sleeping quarters were terrible, but sleep was welcome because it was like he was forgetting the pain.’’

In January, Aso effectively admitted his family firm used forced labor during World War II after government documents emerged in Japan in December which confirmed earlier material from the United States.

When those U.S. media reports first surfaced in 2006—confirming the link between forced labor and the mine—it is understood that Aso, then foreign minister, ordered his officials to publicly rubbish the news.

The Japanese government documents revealed in December show that 300 Allied POWs—101 Britons, two Dutch and 197 Australians—were based at camp No. 26 which was assigned to the Aso mine. Around 150 of the men worked at the mine, with the rest working on farmland.

On Aso, McAnulty said, ‘‘I would love him to admit the truth and apologize to the survivors or their relatives. They were not paid and were not looked after well and were treated with disdain. If he has any conscience, he would apologize.’’

He recognizes that Aso was a child when these events took place and therefore cannot be held directly responsible. However, McAnulty feels that a man in his position should take the lead and do the honorable thing.

Since the discovery, McAnulty has decided to write to the prime minister’s office, although he is not optimistic about getting a reply.

‘‘I definitely think that the Aso company should compensate the survivors or their relatives. But I definitely know that it isn’t going to happen.’’

He continued, ‘‘They made immense profits and part of that was off my father’s back. My father should be paid for the years he worked there, and compensated for the cruelty imposed on him and the psychological damage.’’

McAnulty’s father, also called James, was an engine stoker on board HMS Exeter which was sunk by Japanese ships in the Java Sea in 1942.

He was moved to Camp No. 26 in Keisen, Fukuoka, from where prisoners were forced to work each day at the Yoshikuma pit belonging to Aso Mining Co., now the Aso Group. The prime minister headed the company between 1973 and 1979 before entering politics.

Aso’s spokesman said it is difficult to comment at this stage because no letter had yet been received.

Thomas Jowett, who has researched the history of HMS Exeter and its personnel, said that of the 101 British men, 88 were either from HMS Exeter or HMS Encounter, which was also sunk at the same time.

As far as he is aware there is only one Exeter survivor who worked in the mine and is still alive.

Jowett said, ‘‘It is very disconcerting that it has taken the publication of Japanese government records for Prime Minister Aso to accept that slave labor took place at this family-run mine.

‘‘The Japanese government—through Aso—should issue a more fulsome and sincere apology for the atrocities committed by Japan both before and during World War II.

‘‘I doubt that compensation will be offered by Aso and, in any event, it is too late because there are very few survivors. This, I believe, is due to the ill-treatment and malnourishment suffered by the POWs.’’

Yukihisa Fujita, an opposition parliamentarian in Japan who has been instrumental in bringing this issue to the attention of the public, told Kyodo News Aso should apologize to the British relatives ‘‘for having kept, for so long, denying’’ the family firm’s use of slave labor.

Fujita says the men should have been paid for their work at the mine and is now demanding that the firm make a ‘‘consolation’’ payment to the families.

The Japanese government has consistently expressed regret for the inhumane treatment inflicted upon POWs during World War II, but some claim that the apology did not go far enough and should have been more sincere.

Tokyo has always said that it settled all compensation claims with Allied POWs when it made payments to them through the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951. Critics claim this was a derisory sum and the Allied powers should not have settled for such a measly figure. This treaty has meant that any subsequent private lawsuits have been unsuccessful.

Although such treatment of POWs contravened the 1929 Geneva Convention, Japan had not ratified the convention at the time.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Aso says having children an 'obligation,' but later retracts remark

Gaffe-prone Prime Minister Taro Aso said Thursday that he has fulfilled an ‘‘obligation’’ because he has two children, but he later retracted the remark made during a parliamentary debate about Japan’s declining birthrate.

‘‘I may well have fulfilled an obligation because I have had two children since getting married at 43,’’ Aso told the House of Representatives Budget Committee in a debate with Chinami Nishimura, a lawmaker of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

‘‘I do not hear people say in this country that it is good to have a child or it is fun (to have child). I keep hearing that it (having a child) is tough,’’ Aso said, noting he enjoys seeing his children, who are 20 and 23.

But he later retracted the remark, saying there are various reasons for not having a child.

‘‘I think that the word ‘obligation’ was inappropriate,’’ Aso said. ‘‘There are people who cannot have a child even though they want to, and there are people who are unable to give birth for physical reasons. There are various reasons.’’

The 68-year-old premier, who took office last September, has seen a decline in the support rate for his cabinet in the past following a series of verbal gaffes on political, financial and social issues.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Miyako Odori 2009

This dance is performed by the maiko and geiko of Gion Kobu. The first performance in 1872 was promoted as part of the Exhibition for the Promotion of Domestic Industry, as a measure to promote prosperity in Kyoto after the city's decline as a result of the capital having been moved to Tokyo in 1869. Infusion of new ideas into this annual event has made it very popular. It is now one of the main events in Kyoto.
Miyako odori

Thursday, April 23, 2009

5,000 elementary students planted to welcome IOC evaluation team

More than 5,000 public elementary school students in Tokyo’s Koto Ward were assembled at a park when an evaluation team from the International Olympic Committee visited last week without being told that the team would go there, officials of the Koto Ward said Wednesday.

The ward explained that the students “happened to” go to the Yumenoshima (Dream Island) park for a field trip on the same day of the IOC visit, but a group against Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics said the move was apparently aimed at “mobilizing” students to use them as plants to welcome the IOC.

’’Worried about being criticized, the ward probably insisted that it was a field trip and did not explain (about the IOC team visit) to the students,’’ a member of the group said.

On Friday’s visit to the park, which would be used for archery under Tokyo’s Olympics venue plan, the IOC team was seen to be welcomed by the students and Tokyo’s Bid Committee told a press conference that the team was ‘‘welcomed by smiling children and people at the places they went.’’


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Gov't apologizes for mistakenly reporting launch of N Korean rocket

The Japanese government provided erroneous information that North Korea had launched a rocket Saturday, mostly because the Air Self-Defense Force was confused about radar information, a Defense Ministry official said.

‘‘We caused a great deal of trouble to the Japanese people. This was a mistake in the transmission of information by the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces,’’ Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters. ‘‘I want to apologize to the people from my heart.’’

The government released information that ‘‘North Korea appears to have launched a projectile’’ at 12:16 p.m. via its email-based Em-Net emergency information system, but retracted it five minutes later, saying it was a ‘‘detection failure.’’

By then, media organizations at home and abroad had reported the rocket launch as breaking news based on the false information.

The confusion occurred after the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported earlier in the day that the rocket ‘‘will be launched soon.’’ North Korea has said the launch is for a communications satellite but Japan, South Korea and the United States suspect the launch is a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test.

According to the Defense Ministry, the ground-based FPS-5 radar at the ministry’s Iioka research and development site in Asahi, Chiba Prefecture, picked up a trace over the Sea of Japan on the radar screen.

The information was immediately conveyed to the ASDF’s Air Defense Command in the suburbs of Tokyo, but the person who received it mistook the information for satellite early warning information provided by the U.S. military.

The satellite early warning information is based on data sent by the U.S. Air Force’s Defense Support Program satellite orbiting the Earth. Equipped with an infrared telescope, it is normally the quickest means to detect ballistic missile launches.

The erroneous information then got passed onto the SDF’s Central Command Post at the Defense Ministry headquarters, from which it was conveyed to the crisis management center at the prime minister’s office, according to the ministry.

The prime minister’s office sent an emergency e-mail message to local governments across the country and media organizations based on the false information.

One minute after the Central Command Post received the launch information, it was notified that the trace had disappeared from the radar screen and that no satellite early warning information had actually been received, the ministry said.

‘‘They should have confirmed on computer terminals that satellite early warning information had been received. The mistake could have been avoided if they had done so,’’ a ministry official said.

The official said he does not know why the airman at the Air Defense Command mixed up the radar and satellite early warning information.

A misstep was also reported at the local level in Japan’s northern areas, over which part of the rocket is set to pass if it flies according to the plan announced by North Korea.

Before the central government’s false report, the Akita prefectural government issued an erroneous report to all municipal governments in the prefecture that North Korea had ‘‘fired a missile,’’ and one of the municipal offices communicated the report to all households through a radio transmission for disaster management.

According to prefectural officials, a SDF member at the prefectural government’s disaster preparedness headquarters received a communication from the Defense Ministry that the rocket was ‘‘launched at 10:48 a.m.’’

The SDF member verbally communicated the message to a prefectural government official, who then passed on the information to relevant officials of all the municipalities through mobile phone text messages six minutes later, the officials said.

Sixteen of the 25 municipalities in the prefecture conveyed the central government-issued information to their residents via a community wireless system and other means, and corrected the information later.

Tottori Prefecture, also on the Sea of Japan, issued faxes to its municipalities soon after the central government issued the wrong information and had to hastily correct the content.