A day before the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, teams who were staying in Okinawa, Japan, were woken up at 4 a.m. by an emergency evacuation alert triggered by a missile launch from North Korea.
The emergency alarm: The Japanese government sent the alarm via the J-Alert system through cell phones on Aug. 24, prompting a call for the residents of Okinawa to seek cover. The basketball teams, who were set to play their group-stage games in the prefecture, included players from Slovenia, Australia, Germany, Japan, Finland, Cape Verde, Georgia and Venezuela.
“Emergency Alert: Missile launch. Missile launch. A missile is believed to have been launched from North Korea,” the alert read.
However, another message was sent 13 minutes later to clear the area and lift the emergency warning.
“Missile passed,” the alert said. “It is believed that the previous missile passed into the Pacific Ocean at around 4am. We will cancel the call for evacuation. Never approach anything suspicious and immediately contact the police and fire departments.”
Doncic addresses incident: Dallas Mavericks superstar and Slovenian national team captain Luka Doncic addressed the alarming incident.
“Everything is great, except that I didn’t sleep much last night because of the alarm,” Doncic said in a press conference, according to Sports Illustrated. “The alarm was something crazy. I just saw the missile was coming, so I was a little bit scared.”
“I didn’t sleep much. It was crazy,” he added.
Journalist Olgun Uluc also shared his thoughts on X, writing, “Can we, and I can’t stress it enough, absolutely not.”
North Korea’s spy satellite: Japanese authorities confirmed the missile scare, noting that the South Korean military detected the launch of the purported space rocket at around 3:50 a.m. before flying over and falling into the Yellow Sea.
North Korea reportedly made a second attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit on Thursday but failed in the third stage of the rocket’s separation. The nation is expecting its third attempt to get its satellite into space in October.
North Korea’s UN violation: According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea violated the UN Security Council resolutions, which prohibits Pyongyang from using ballistic technologies. South Korea will salvage the parts from the satellite wreckage to study it and later release an investigation report.