Sirens blare as Japan, fearing N Korea, holds first missile drill

OGA, Akita —

Sirens blared and loudspeakers broadcast warnings in Japan’s first civilian missile evacuation drill on Friday, conducted in a fishing town by officials wary about the threat of North Korean missiles.

The exercise comes more than a week after North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan’s northwest coast, with one rocket landing about 200 km from the town of Oga in Akita Prefecture.

Friday’s drill played out a scenario in which North Korea had fired a ballistic missile on the Japanese islands.

“The missile is seen to have landed within a 20-km boundary west of the Oga peninsula,” a speaker blared during the evacuation. “The government is currently examining the damage.”

Residents of the largely rural peninsula jutting into the ocean about 450 km north of the capital, Tokyo, made their way to a designated evacuation center equipped with emergency kits and protective gear.

Schoolchildren in another part of town crouched down to the ground before hurrying inside a gymnasium.

“I’ve seen missiles flying between foreign countries on television, but I never imagined this would happen to us,” said Hideo Motokawa, a 73-year-old who participated in the drill.

Officials said the exercise was prompted by growing concern about the regional security situation.

“Anything can happen these days, and it’s even more true when we cannot anticipate the behavior of our neighboring countries,” said Osamu Saito, a security supervisor in the prefecture.

North Korea is also developing nuclear-tipped missiles, in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and sanctions, and conducting nuclear tests in what U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described during a visit to Japan as an
“ever-escalating threat.”

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Friday the missile drill was worthwhile, to help educate the public.

Some Oga residents worried about how they would react in a real attack.

“It’s a scary thing,” said participant Emiko Shinzoya, 73. “If it did actually happen, I don’t think we can do what we practiced today. We’ll just be panicked.”

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017.

  • 0


    I wonder how far this news (cough cough) will travel around the world to raise the threat to Japan.

  • 1


    Already got mails from people around the world asking did we have drills, am I scared or want to leave...

    After 2011 I learned that there are somethings you can't control, and I have an extended family here now, Im not going anywhere.

    Will NK ever be silly enough to go through with what would be the certain end of them, really don't know, but that isn't what worries me so much, anything that happens will be fairly minimal, its what China/US/South Korea do after.

  • -1


    If there is another war in Korea, it will be catastrophic for North Korea, South Korea, China, and Japan. The damage and bloodshed from the war will be extensive and the clean up effort afterwards will be astronomically expensive. Indeed, all four nations' economies could go bankrupt altogether all at the same time. And that, of course, would trigger a global depression.

  • -2


    If there is another war in Korea, it will be catastrophic for North Korea, South Korea, China, and Japan.

    No, I don't think so. I think it would be over within a week. China will huff and puff, but even they will not defend NK for an unprovoked attack on a neighbouring country.

  • 0


    MSNBC already reported in USA. First Civilian Evacuation drill against Missile Attack before Trump had meeting with German Chancellor. in USA.

  • -2


    When wars are declared between countries usually the instigator(s) don't think about the economical consequences and other factors. It's pure rage and they don't care about the outcome to certain extent. People who believe that North Korea would not do so are living in their own bubble because sooner rather than later a war will occur in Asia. Be it North Korea or China who will start this off and countries like Japan will feel the first impact due to its location.

  • -1

    Sukumar Devaguptapu

    Prevention is better than cure -- good that Japan is preparing in an appropriate manner. So far the missiles tested-fired by North Korea have been estimated by the Israeli intelligence to have a range of about 2500 miles. With the likely errors possible, it is better to be prepared for unlikely eventuality. No one has been able to bear on North Korean leadership to stop such adventurous and provocative firing, including China.

  • 0


    I don't think Japan is anxious to enter war. Its Article 9 allows Japan can attack back if attacked but I think it has no plan to attack N Korea. It seems that J is not interested to get USA help.

  • 0


    "“Anything can happen these days, and it’s even more true when we cannot anticipate the behavior of our neighboring countries,”

    What's sad is that a lot of the unpredictable behaviour is the direct result of the entirely too predictable behaviour of your own government.

    toshiko: "I don't think Japan is anxious to enter war."

    A lot of the people who spread hate here in Japan towards China and the Koreas in particular have more than vocally said they would like to see war. They foment such hatred and in turn vote in radical right-wingers, who help pave the way.

    "Its Article 9 allows Japan can attack back if attacked but I think it has no plan to attack N Korea."

    You mean the article that the current government has been trying to change for years?

    "It seems that J is not interested to get USA help."

    And yet, not one article about Okinawan protests since the last missile launches, or anti-base people demanding the US leave. Hmmm....

  • 1


    It seems that J is not interested to get USA help.

    What makes you think that?

    To think any country would turn down the help of the strongest military in the world, especially when thousands of their members are stationed within the country, seems illogical.

  • -3


    I for one am sick and tired of the mass hysterics reported by media and paranoia that many speculate would happen. In a real world scenario, it won' even come close. A massive preemptive strike would end any misconceptions painted. The end result would be rebuilding the rubble and feeding the masses. China would be upset, but nothing they could do as even today there is nothing they can do to stop such an attack. Russia by this time would have cut a deal with the US and would only rant as a show. I support a full scale preemptive strike.

  • 0


    Should we duck-and-cover when we see the mushroom cloud, or paint our windows white to deflect the blast (both real pieces of Cold War advice in the event of a nuclear attack)?

  • 0


    @smith: There is no. rumor J is making S DF stronger.

  • 1



    There are protests on Okinawa against the relocation of MCAS Futenma to Henoko and the construction of the helipads at Takae everyday regardless of what China and North Korea do. Just because they are not reported in the Mainland Japan press does not mean they are not taking place. If you want to read about them, look on the websites of the Local Okinawa Newspapers.

  • 0


    N Korea reported shooting missiles were excuses to shoot American base. J central gov't needs to protect Okinawa. Meanwhile US military men must be scared when they will be ipped to middle east combats, Trump increase military budgets.

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