World War 3: Japan Prepares for the Worst
“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 of Akita told Reuters.
Last month, Japan held its first-ever civilian exercise in the prefecture of Akita, simulating the evacuation of more than 100 people in the event of an attack.
A Japanese civil security website – the Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal Site – says that a North Korean missile would reach the country “in a very short time,” adding that a missile could cover a distance of 1,600km and reach Japan in 10 minutes.
The number of people searching for guidance on the Civil Protection Portal Site has risen almost sixfold since March, with 2.6 million visiting the website in April compared with some 450,000 in February, the Japan Times reports.
People would actually have much less than 10 minutes to find safety, according to Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura.
“A missile may not be detected as soon as it leaves the launch pad . . . and that could take several minutes,” the Japan Times cites the official as saying. “Depending on the case, the warnings and alarms might only sound four or five minutes before a missile arrives.”
The Osaka mayor’s statement came after the government called on prefectural disaster and crisis officials “to make additional efforts to warn residents and establish their own plans” during a meeting in Tokyo.
In the event of a strike, the government recommends that citizens calmly go to the “strongest concrete building” nearby, stay “low to the floor,” or get under a table.
In Osaka guidelines issued separately, schoolchildren are advised to “get under their desks” and not to leave their classrooms, should a strike come during a school day.
Japan has a special service, J-Alert, to convey all urgent messages to citizens. If there were to be a potential strike, the system would send a warning to local authorities via satellite, telephone and cyberspace. Citizens would then hear the warning message through loudspeakers, an emergency broadcast on TV and radio, or cell phone alerts.
In a bid to facilitate possible evacuations, prefectures are seeking to make legal changes, such as introducing new laws on mandatory evacuation and a nationwide system of drills.