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Tokyo holds ‘first-ever’ missile attack drill

Around 350 volunteers worked with authorities in the Japanese capital to simulate reaction to a North Korean nuclear attack.

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Tokyo holds ‘first-ever’ missile attack drill

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REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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The Japanese capital held its first missile evacuation drill in the event of a nuclear attack by North Korea on Monday (January 22).

Around 350 volunteers participated in the exercise conducted at the Tokyo Dome City amusement park, Tokyo’s Korakuen Station and Kasuga Station, reported Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun.

Similar drills have taken place in smaller Japanese cities but this was the first drill to be organised in Tokyo.

A staff directs participants during an anti-missile evacuation drill at the Tokyo Dome City amusement park in Tokyo
REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Images show volunteers running for cover in subway stations and underground spaces that would become shelters in case of an attack.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Protesters showed up at the drill sites carrying banners calling the drill a "war exercise". 

A video shared on Facebook by Japanese politician Akira Fukil shows volunteers in grey vests awaiting orders outside the Bunkyo Civic Centre.

The choreographed drill reflects the Japanese government’s efforts to prepare in case of a possible war against North Korea.

“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,” Japanese government official Hiroyuku Suenaga told volunteers.

In November 2017, the Pentagon detected a North Korean missile launch that landed in the Sea of Japan. Soon after, Japanese and South Korean authorities convened an emergency meeting to talk about the impending threat of a nuclear war. 

Despite hope that North Korea's participation in the next Winter Olympics in South Korea will ease tensions in the region, Japan's Foreign Ministry Norio Maruyama told Euronews that his government is "actively seeking partners to form an international alliance" against Pyongyang. 

"The North Korean problem is becoming more and more worrying for us. The threat level is unprecedented and what's more their missiles can now reach Europe," said Maruyama.