Japan to conduct evacuation drill to prepare for North Korea missiles

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   April 14, 2017 at 12:21 PM
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April 14 (UPI) -- Japan is to soon conduct another evacuation drill, this time to prepare residents of Nagasaki for North Korea provocations.

This is the second drill the country will be conducting since escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula have heightened concerns of Pyongyang's next missile launch, Kyodo news agency reported Friday.

The drill will simulate a summer North Korea missile strike against the Japanese city, according to the report.

In Sasebo, a core city in Nagasaki Prefecture home to a U.S. Navy base, police, firefighters and self-defense forces are to hold the evacuation drill to prepare for provocations.

Japan began holding the evacuation drills in March.

The drill was carried out in Oga City, Akita Prefecture, and involved the mobilization of local residents to safe shelters.

About 100 people took part in the drills, which included transmission of information across "J-Alert," a national emergency alert system that can transmit urgent messages nationwide.

Tokyo is seriously concerned about North Korea's provocations, which have included dozens of ballistic missile tests and two nuclear tests in 2016.

Japan has not been able to intercept projectiles that have fallen in its maritime exclusive economic zone.

Earlier this week Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would "protect the peaceful lives of citizens in any situation," after describing a failed North Korea missile launch as a "dangerous provocative act and a grave threat to security."

North Korea's threats are changing Japanese public opinion on defense.

A recent survey of 1,233 Japanese respondents indicates 36 percent see a need to "review the self-defense force's strike capabilities" against North Korea.

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