In Brief

Millions of Tokyo residents to take part in nuclear drills

Evacuation routine to simulate a North Korean attack on the Japanese capital

Millions of Tokyo residents are to take part in a series of evacuation drills simulating a nuclear attack by North Korea.

 The Sankei Shimbun newspaper has reported plans by the city authorities and government to carry out a number of exercises early in the new year in response to increasingly belligerent behaviour from North Korea, which has launched several ballistic missiles over Japan.

Towns facing the Korea Peninsula have been instructing residents how to seek shelter in the event of a missile attack but this will be the first time a major Japanese city will conduct such exercises.

Despite Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling on local authorities across the country to identify underground facilities or buildings that are sufficiently sturdy to withstand a missile attack, “the Japanese government has until now resisted calls for major cities to carry out similar exercises on the grounds that they would alarm the public”, says The Daily Telegraph.

The paper says that, given Pyongyang’s worsening relations with surrounding nations and advances in nuclear weapons and missile systems, “many in Japan believe evacuation exercises for the public are a prudent precaution”.

A study by analysts at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and published in October suggested that a 250 kiloton airburst over the centre of Tokyo would cause nearly 698,000 fatalities and injuries to a further 2.47 million people.

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