Japan holds first-ever evacuation drill simulating North Korean missile strike into waters nearby

Friday, March 17, 2017
By Paul Martin

MAR 17, 2017

AKITA – Amid a growing missile threat from North Korea, the northern city of Oga, Akita Prefecture, held Japan’s first-ever evacuation drill for local residents, gaming out a scenario in which Pyongyang lobs a ballistic missile into the waters nearby.

The drill came as the North continues to make advances in its missile and nuclear weapons programs, having carried out a number of launches over the past year, with its latest test-firing earlier this month.

Conducted on the premise of a ballistic missile falling into Japanese waters off Akita, the drill was aimed at promptly relaying information while facilitating the swift and safe evacuation of residents.

Hosted by the prefectural and city governments, the drill saw local officials direct 110 residents and other participants in a district of Oga, which faces the sea, to evacuate to a public hall and elementary school.

The central government relayed emergency information to the local municipalities partly through the J-Alert emergency advisory service, which is also employed in the event of disasters.

The city then used its wireless system to broadcast the information it received via loudspeakers and inform residents, who had registered ahead of time for such information, through their smartphones and other gadgets.

While the central government has been carrying out drills to relay news alerts to municipalities using the J-Alert system, Friday’s drill marked the first residents had taken part in an actual evacuation drill.

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