Leap day glitch hits Japan weather bureau, again

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WIRE:02/28/2000 20:29:00 ET Leap day glitch hits Japan weather bureau, again TOKYO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Japan's weather bureau on Tuesday suffered a computer failure for the second straight day due to the leap day rollover and said it had sent out the wrong information on local temperatures and precipitation. Japan's Meteorological Agency said computers designed to process data on local temperatures and precipitation at its 43 offices across the country malfunctioned early on Tuesday.

An agency spokesman said the computer glitch was caused by an old programme installed in the system.

"We are now in the process of updating the computer programme," he said.

It was the agency's second day in a row of embarrassing computer glitches related to the February 29 leap day rollover.

On Monday, a number of its computers failed to print properly the date on a set of weather forecasts issued early on Monday.

An agency spokesman said local maritime advisories good for 24 hours were sent out with an expiry date of "1" instead of "29" from six regional agency offices.

The Japanese government set up a task force of 10 officials at Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi's office on Monday to monitor the situation through the leap day rollover.

Officials said on Tuesday they had received no reports of computer failures in any other sectors, including nuclear power generation, aviation and telecommunications.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) had about 1,000 employees on standby to deal with any problems between Monday night and Tuesday morning. Some 5,000 were on standby on December 31 and January 1.

Japan saw several computer-related glitches at the New Year, including five data monitoring incidents at nuclear power plants, at least one of which was later acknowledged as a Y2K problem after a computer failed to properly read the year 2000.

All were cleared up within hours and did not affect safety or power generation.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), February 28, 2000

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