RealNews

Computer Bug Paralyzed Japan's Air Traffic System

The government said Thursday a glitch in a program made by technology giant NEC Corp., overlooked by both aviation bureau and company technicians for months, led to the failure of Japan’s central air traffic control system two weeks ago. The failure, which occurred in both the main computer and its backup at 7 a.m. on March 1, delayed hundreds of thousands of passengers and prompted the cancellation of more than 200 flights over a two-day period. Subsequent investigations identified the cause as a defect on a program installed by NEC on the central system that collects flight data from airports nationwide and feeds it to air traffic controllers, according to a statement by the transport ministry. Aviation bureau technicians realized the program running on the flight data processing system was flawed when it was installed in September, but dismissed the error as too small to cause serious problems, the statement said. In January, NEC technicians discovered the same defect but decided not to report it as the system had been running smoothly for four months and left it unfixed. Full Story

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