TOKYO, Dec. 19 (UPI) — Japan is to carry out an evacuation drill to prepare for future North Korea provocations.
Tokyo is planning the unprecedented exercise for March 2017 to get ready for a possible ballistic missile launch, local newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported Monday.
Japan has previously conducted simulation training, but in the face of intensifying missile threats, the government has decided training should involve the mobilization of people, according to the report.
The evacuation is to be carried out using “J-Alert,” a national emergency alert system that can transmit urgent messages nationwide.
In accordance with Japan’s national security law, the drills are to be conducted with the participation of the country’s self-defense forces, police, maritime security and fire department.
The drill is to cover scenarios that include the confirmation of the dropping point of North Korea missiles, transmission of the information across J-Alert then mobilizing nearby residents to safe buildings through the use of a disaster management radio system.
Tokyo is seriously concerned about North Korea’s provocations, which have included dozens of ballistic missile tests and two nuclear tests in 2016.
In August North Korea fired a midrange ballistic missile that fell in Japan’s maritime exclusive economic zone. Tokyo failed to intercept the projectile.
A Japanese official told the Sankei the August missile has prompted demands from the government and the ruling party that evacuation training should be implemented for residents.
North Korea has refused to cooperate with international demands for denuclearization, and it is likely Pyongyang could demonstrate weapons capability that surpasses current levels in 2017, a South Korean think tank stated Monday.
In its annual forecast the Asan Institute for Policy Studies said it is likely with a new incoming administration in Washington North Korea could exhibit its weapons of mass destruction.
Pyongyang could test even more powerful bombs in 2017 and demonstrate missile re-entry technology necessary for longer-range strikes, the report stated.