Missile alert in Japan: Former South Coast journalist shares her experience

Former South Coast journalist Karisa Whelan, currently living in Japan, shares her experience of waking up to missile alerts on her phone.

North Korea fired a missile early on Tuesday from near Pyongyang that flew over northern Japan.

“I initially thought it would be about some minor flooding, or something related to the rain here,” Ms Whelan said.

“When I looked at the phone, it said something about missiles.

“The advice was that North Korea had launched a missile that was heading towards northern Japan.

“We were told to go to a building with concrete walls, or underground,” she said.

Messages also suggested residents could shelter in subway tunnels. Miss Whelan lives in the rural area of Yuni, where there is no subway.

It was confusing and scary. I wasn't sure what to do. I started getting up and grabbing some things.

Karisa Whelan

“Then, maybe 10 minutes after the first alert, I got a second alert,” she said.

“The second said the missile had passed over Hokkaido.

“I felt relieved, but still confused. I checked in with friends and family who would start hearing things on the news to let them know I was fine.

“I started get people telling me to come home.

I won't be coming home. I don't think North Korea was aiming for Japan with this launch.

While I know living in Japan has an added national security risk, I think we are living in dangerous times and no one place is much safer than any other,” she said.