“Be Prepared”

Photo credit: kokuminhogo.go.jp On March 6th, North Korea launched several missiles, three of which easily reached Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan, the water that separates the Japan and Korea peninsulas. It was a test that Kim Jong-Un said was in “preparation to hit U.S. military bases” located inside the country.

We previously reported that some smaller fishing communities were holding “duck and cover” drills with schoolchildren, in case of a missile strike. However, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, wants the entire country to be prepared for an attack, fearing residents may have little time to find safety.

Abe’s office issued an updated disaster preparedness pamphlet this week and for the first-time in the country’s history, it included instructions on dealing with a North Korea ballistic missile attack. The guide is titled “Protecting Ourselves against Armed Attacks and Terrorism”, and is likely a frightening reminder of a time that Japan would like to forget.

Unfortunately, due to the close proximity of North Korea (in terms of ballistic missiles), the guide couldn’t offer much in terms of protection from such an attack. In fact, the brochure warned that by the time the alarm sounds, it could already be…

Too Late

North Korean Missile | Photo Credit Reuters

Under the section heading “Ballistic Missile Attacks,” the guide reads in part:

“It is extremely difficult to be able to pinpoint missile landing areas before their launch. The missile is expected to land in a short period of time. Therefore, a warning will be issued to the effect that a launch of a ballistic missile is imminent and the content of the warning will be communicated via TV and radio etc.”

Sadly, citizens may have as few as 10 minutes to get themselves and their families to safety if a missile is launched by North Korea. Complicating matters further, Abe has also stated that he fears some bombs may include warheads filled with Sarin gas. The state of Hawaii, home to many Japanese immigrants, issued similar warnings this past week as officials there remain on high-alert.