TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo held its first missile evacuation drill on Monday with volunteers taking cover in subway stations and other underground spaces that would double as shelters for the Japanese capital in the event of a North Korean missile strike.
Tokyo believes the threat posed by Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development is deepening.
“A missile from North Korea would arrive in less than 10 minutes and the first alert would come about three minutes after launch, which gives us only around five minutes to find shelter,” Hiroyuku Suenaga, a Japanese government official, told volunteers after the Tokyo exercise.
People huddled into an amusement park basement and a subway station in Japan’s capital and others ducked and covered their heads at a community center Monday during a drill based on the scenario of an incoming North Korean missile.
Loudspeakers in Tokyo’s first such drill warned that the activities involved a scenario of a missile attack and urged people to shelter indoors or go underground.
More than 20 evacuation drills have been conducted around Japan since last year amid threats from North Korea, but Monday’s activity was the first missile evacuation drill in Tokyo.
Hundreds Hurry for Cover During Tokyo’s First Missile Drill
January 22, 2018, 12:15 AM EST
As a siren warned of an approaching North Korean missile, hundreds of people in central Tokyo hurried for cover in buildings and under ground.But unlike the false alarm in Hawaii nine days earlier, this was just a drill.
The government planned Monday’s exercise to raise awareness about taking action should a ballistic device be detected heading for the densely populated Japanese capital.The drill participants listen to a missile alert.Photographer: Akio Kon/BloombergWhile Japan has long lived with North Korean threats, unease grew last year after the Pyongyang regime fired a brace of missiles over the country into the Pacific Ocean.
There would only be about five minutes to take action: the national government says a February 2016 missile took about 10 minutes to fly from North Korea to Okinawa.Abe’s VowA small group of protesters held up placards reading: « Is there any point in doing this? »
At the first evacuation drill in central Tokyo to help prepare for a potential ballistic missile attack on Jan. 22, several dozen protesters turned up to mar the proceedings.
The drill was sponsored by the ward government, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
The first evacuation drill to prepare for a ballistic missile attack took place in Akita Prefecture in March 2017, according to the agency.