Japan holds first-ever evacuation drill simulating North Korean missile strike into waters nearby

Japan holds first-ever evacuation drill simulating North Korean missile strike into waters nearby

Amid a growing missile threat from North Korea, the northern city of Oga, Akita Prefecture, held Japan’s first-ever evacuation drill for local residents, gaming out a scenario in which Pyongyang lobs a ballistic missile into the waters nearby.

The drill came as the North continues to make advances in its missile and nuclear weapons programs, having carried out a number of launches over the past year, with its latest test-firing earlier this month.

Conducted on the premise of a ballistic missile falling into Japanese waters off Akita, the drill was aimed at promptly relaying information while facilitating the swift and safe evacuation of residents.

Hosted by the prefectural and city governments, the drill saw local officials direct 110 residents and other participants in a district of Oga, which faces the sea, to evacuate to a public hall and elementary school.

The central government relayed emergency information to the local municipalities partly through the J-Alert emergency advisory service, which is also employed in the event of disasters.

The city then used its wireless system to broadcast the information it received via loudspeakers and inform residents, who had registered ahead of time for such information, through their smartphones and other gadgets.

While the central government has been carrying out drills to relay news alerts to municipalities using the J-Alert system, Friday’s drill marked the first residents had taken part in an actual evacuation drill.

At a local elementary school, 44 students who were on the school’s premises were rushed to its gymnasium following the broadcast.

Shin Kikuchi, the school’s principal, expressed hope that key information will be relayed smoothly by the central and local governments, as the students must depend on authorities for such details.

On March 6, North Korea simultaneously launched four ballistic missiles, three of which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Tokyo estimated that one of the missiles fell into the Sea of Japan just 200 km off the Ishikawa Prefecture’s Noto Peninsula.

Nuclear Engineer: My biggest concern is Fukushima plant will collapse… Concrete under reactors is being “eaten away”… “There’s ongoing chemical attacks” — Containment structures are tilting, in jeopardy of falling over (AUDIO)

Pat Thurston, host (emphasis added): “There’s a story that’s going around the internet, Snopes says there’s nothing to verify that this is true — I guess Tepco is denying it — but there’s a story going around that the containment structure is in jeopardy — its tilting — it’s in jeopardy of falling over, so we’ll talk about that too — if that is even a possibility. Were that to happen, what would that mean?… First, to the issue of the potential for a collapse of the building — for the building to topple over — for it to somehow to collapse. Is that a thing? Can that happen?”Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer: “Yeah, it can happen — and that’s my biggest concern. Tepco is building a wall along the ocean… it’s trapping all this groundwater onsite, and essentially making the ground mushy… There’s already significant damage [to the reactor buildings] — the entire coast of Japan dropped three feet during that earthquake and never rebounded… But the Fukushima site didn’t fall straight, it fell at an angle, it’s about a two inch incline across the site now. So the buildings are in mushy ground and they’re not quite straight. The other part is that there’s a toxic brew of radioactive chemicals inside there, but there’s also just chemicals – they’re eating away at the concrete and they’re eating away at the steel. It’s a nasty chemical broth inside these plants. My fear is that if there’s a Richter 7 quake, not the Richter 9 that happened 6 years ago, if there’s a Richter 7 quake on that site it could breach those containments… The horse is out of the barn at that point… (discussion continues at 32:00 in) On toppling over… probably half the concrete inside the containment that was originally there has been eaten away by the hot radioactive fuel — and there’s ongoing chemical attacks — so I really think the concrete under the containment is pretty darn punky [“resembling punk in being soft or rotted”] right now, and is getting punkier as time goes on.”

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