Aceface kindly pointed me to this, a scanned pdf of the Japanese-language “Flying Object Information” form, filled out by hand by a Japan bureaucrat. It contains the basic information on the missile that flew over Japan on Sunday, noting where it was spotted (to the west of Akita prefecture) and when and where it left Japan’s territorial sphere. Notice also the painfully low resolution of the scan (200dpi?), such that the font is jagged, and you can see random black dots where the scan was imperfect.
The Japanese government has been doing its best to show the public that it is being diligent and fully in-control of the North Korea missile situation. The day of the launch, news clips showed fresh young agency bureaucrats in the Self Defense Force and other affiliated government agencies in rural Akita and Iwate prefecture literally sprinting between rooms when the launch was announced. The public disclosure of the pdf linked above is yet another part of looking busy. They’re doing their absolute best to look like they control the situation when they are almost entirely helpless. Tobias has more on this here and here.
I give them an “A” for effort in looking busy. But the stubborn refusal of the Japanese to use modern technology in the most basic of internal management systems is just revolting. Communications in every modern western organization today are handled electronically — nothing needs to be filled out by hand, and there aren’t “runners” in the halls of the Pentagon and Whitehouse to implement and communicate important information. (In the rare situation that data must be taken by hand, it is punched into a database or system through data entry, and raw handwritten documents that aren’t fit for public scrutiny aren’t voluntarily disclosed to the world). Japan has the best hi-tech gadgets in the world, but so much of the busy work of government (and industry) is still handled by this type of paper scrawl, and throwing raw manpower at problems instead of trying to make systems of operation and management efficient or streamlined. All of this means that government in Japan circa 2009 is backwards. This simply must change.
In other news related to the DPRK missile launch, a majority of Americans would support a military response to the missile launch, 2012 Republican presidential hopeful Gingrich says he would have destroyed the missile before it was launched, and in case you didn’t hear it, despite all the chest-thumping from Pyongyang, the launch was actually a failure.