Tokyo simulates first military attack since WWII

NATION-NOW     Tokyo holds missile evacuation drill amid threat from North Korea     
       Tokyo holds missile evacuation drill amid NK threat

Japan is escalating its efforts to prepare its citizens for war, with Tokyo hosting its first ballistic missile evacuation drill.

The drill simulated a North Korea missile attack, amid ongoing tensions over the hermit state's nuclear weapons program. It is the first drill held in central Tokyo.

Loudspeakers instructed people to take shelter, either underground or indoors, while rides at the amusement park shuddered to a halt. Similar drills have been held across Japan in the wake of a recent series of North Korean missiles flying over the country.

"The drill allowed people in an urban setting to have a specific image of how to react when a missile is launched", Hiroyuki Suenaga, a Cabinet Secretariat counselor, said after the exercise.

North Korea last test-fired a missile on November 29 and has since restarted talks with South Korea, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared unimpressed by the latest developments, supporting the need for Japan to bolster its anti-missile defenses amid "the most severe security environment in the postwar era", as he described it in his speech to parliament on Monday, quoted in the Nikkei Asian Review.

North Korea has its neighbors on edge with its missile and nuclear testing.

"So it's important to repeatedly carry out this kind of drill and for the Government to inform the people". A park employee ran around, shouting "a missile was launched, a missile was launched" as some 250 local residents and office workers duly evacuated to reinforced concrete buildings and a nearby subway station.

Speaking to the evacuation volunteers, Hiroyuku Suenaga, a Japanese government official, said: "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". But there was something of an, too, when public broadcaster NHK sent out an erroneous alert saying North Korea had launched a ballistic missile.The message, received by phone users with the NHK app installed on their devices, read: "NHK news alert".

Some missiles have flown over Japan's northern and second largest island, Hokkaido, prompting fears it could be a target.

Pacifist activists protested outside each of the venues participating in Monday's drill.

"I think it's better than nothing to have such a drill, but I am praying there is no missile attack from the North", said Shota Matsushima, a 20-year-old university student. "I doubt if a missile is actually fired at Japan, and a drill like this is effective when there is a real missile attack".



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