Kim weighs in on missile alert report

  • Mayor Harry Kim

Mayor Harry Kim, who was part of the state’s team that reviewed last month’s false missile alert, doesn’t think Hawaii needs to spend money to fix the problem.

Kim said what’s needed most is good management to restore trust with the public.


“You don’t need money to establish trust,” he said Wednesday, a day after the state released its final report on the incident that caused panic throughout Hawaii.

Kim, who served as county Civil Defense director for 24 years, was the sole county representative on the state’s review team. The effort was overseen by Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara, who is second in command at the state Department of Defense.

In addition to the failures that caused a false alert to be issued to cellphones and broadcast on radio and television, the report noted the state lacked clear details for sheltering and coordination with the counties when it began its missile alert system last year.

Kim had asked the state not to proceed because he didn’t think it was ready. But he said he wasn’t trying to say that he told them so.

“It’s critical we know what went wrong in development of this plan, and it’s very important the governor and the general appoint very good, professional people to address this plan if we are going to go forward,” he said.

Kim said he was reassured by Gov. David Ige that he would suspend all aspects of the plan until changes are made.

The report includes several dozen recommendations, one of which is to look at the feasibility of re-establishing fallout shelters.

If that occurs, Kim said that should be done carefully to ensure facilities are adequate and staff are properly trained.

He said he disbanded Hawaii Island’s shelters when he was Civil Defense director in the 1980s because they were merely caves that had no supplies.

“Whoever identified these shelters did it on paper and pencil,” Kim said. “None were reviewed for capacity or quality.”


To view the report, visit

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