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Japanese island conducts missile evacuation drill

Posted September. 07, 2017 07:34,   

Updated September. 07, 2017 08:06

“Move to the center of a classroom, hide your head and crouch.”

It was 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Nakasuji Elementary School on the Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. As soon as an announcement was made about a missile launch, teachers dropped curtains and shouted at students.

Students gathered at the center of the classroom, put a bag filled with thick books on their heads and kept their bodies low. The mock training was designed with a scenario that glasses are shattered from a missile launch.

It was one particular mock evacuation drill that took place in Japan in preparation for North Korea’s missile provocations. Similar trainings have been conducted nationwide, but this is the first of which performed on an island. This has been the biggest drill with 2,000 residents participated in.

The drill was conducted with a scenario that a ballistic missile had been launched from “Country X” and landed in the sea near Okinoshima. Nationwide warning was soon alerted and the announcement was made about a missile attack through the disaster prevention system to 14,000 residents. About 2,000 residents in schools or public offices immediately evacuated to rigid buildings, hid under a desk or ran toward a hallway without any window.

Elementary school, middle school, high school and public offices in Okinoshima all participated in the drill. Residents in the Oki Islands are especially more conscious of the threat as the North’s ballistic missile landed in the Eastern Sea in the end of May, which is only 300 kilometers away from the region.

The Japanese government has recommended not staying outside and evacuation to rigid buildings, underground installations or subway stations in the wake of missile launches. Japan has informed its citizens that if there is no place to hide nearby, they should stay in shade, keep your body low close to the ground, protect head and cover nose and mouth with a cloth.

The Japanese government has also requested military drills for the North's missile provocations to its local governments since March. Local governments’ responses have become more positive.

Young-A Soh sya@donga.com