'You'll have 10 minutes,' Japan warns citizens over North Korean missile threat

The government is advising the country how to react in the even of a missile strike by the rogue nation

'You'll have 10 minutes,' Japan warns citizens over North Korean missile threat

North Korean men and women wave flags and plastic flowers as a float with model missiles and rockets with words that read

Japanese authorities have advised citizens they will have just 10 minutes to seek shelter should North Korea launch a ballistic missile at the country, as tensions continue to flare in Asia.

Posting advice on Japan’s civil protection website, the government warns that should a launch take place, there will be just minutes to evacuate to “a robust building or underground shopping arcade.”

The Japanese population are warned that they will receive a general alarm on TV and radio at the point of a missile launch, but that it is “extremely difficult to be able to pinpoint missile landing areas before their launch.” The government also states it will be impossible to determine what type of missile the rogue state has launched until it has struck, with the threat of nuclear or chemical warheads not ruled out.

North Korea, which first proved itself capable of launching an attack that could reach Japanese territorial waters in 1998, launched a missile test in February; that ballistic missile took 10 minutes to fly from its launchpad across the Japanese islands, landing in the Pacific on Japan’s eastern side.

The official warning comes as North Korea further isolates itself from Japan and South Korea, with diplomatic relations with Donald Trump’s White House seeing sabre rattling in the Sea of Japan. Three of North Korea’s last four test missile launches have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the stretch of water separating the two countries.

Japan’s early-warning systems, more regularly used to alert against earthquakes and tsunami threats, will announce an impending missile strike via loudspeakers, mobile phone messages, and TV and radio reports. The government is also briefing local authorities on how to react to a strike, suggesting they hold evacuation drills.

The front cover of the civil defence document issued to all those residing in Japan

The recent political unrest has seen Japan’s civil defence website inundated with traffic from concerned citizens, with 14 times the usual number of visitors seeking information during April. Sales of nuclear shelters and anti-radiation air filters are booming.

As allies of Japan and South Korea, the White House has briefed the government on the escalating issues with Pyongyang. President Trump spoke to Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister, and Chinese President Xi Jinping over the weekend in an effort to work on a diplomatic solution.

Trump later told the UN Security Council ambassadors that “the status quo” was unacceptable and that the UN must prepare itself to issue further sanctions against Kim Jong-un’s rogue dictatorship.

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