Recently North Korea made a public statement that they can fire on Guam any time they want. Actually, North Korea has held numerous missile firing exercises in the East Sea. North Korea has launched missiles weekly since the inauguration of the new government. Japan conducted an evacuation drill in response. These situations are in stark contrast with insouciant South Korea. So this evacuation drill has attracted much attention.
North Korea threatened that they would launch an intermediate range ballistic missile ‘Hwasung XII’ around Guam. The regime predicts that if it launches missiles, they will pass over Japanese Shimane, Hiroshima, and Kochi. Therefore, this training was carried out in nine prefectures by expanding to Tottori, Tokushima, Kagawa, and Ehime adjacent to these three prefectures in consideration of the deviation of the North Korean missile. In addition, 4 defense missiles (Patriot missiles or PAC3) were deployed in 4 areas which were in the projected path of North Korea’s ballistic missile. The defence ministry of Japan commented that there would be an immediate intercept if any unexpected situation occurred such as North Korea’s missile attack. It’s possible that North Korea might attempt firing missiles and launch a nuclear strike against USA and Japan is increasing defense because of the hard-line policy of the Trump administration. Therefore, Japan is more tense than usual.
The evacuation drill in Japan was conducted for each geographical condition. It is important to evacuate to a strong building or a basement near one’s residence. This training focused on checking the normal operation of the national warning system. There were some features that didn’t work properly in some areas; also, several disaster prevention information system texts weren’t sent to all citizens. According to Reuters UK, it would take 10 minutes if North Korea launched a missile from land to Japan. But the Japanese government took several minutes evacuating citizens to safe areas. Therefore, Reuters UK pointed out that there are some real difficulties. Nevertheless, the Japanese government conducted evacuation drills last Sunday. They tried to promptly evacuate people within 3 minutes from when alarms sounded. In contrast, South Korea’s evacuation drill wasn’t tense at all. On August 23 at 2P.M., in an elementary school in Seoul, there was an evacuation drill to respond to North Korea’s missile provocation. Teachers explained the evacuation drill in the classrooms, but there weren’t any announcements after students gathered on the 1st floor. After several minutes, the students returned to their classrooms while chatting with friends. Students in another elementary school at the same time were evacuated to the playground. A playground is exposed to danger because it’s an open air area. Most advanced schools didn’t have an evacuation drill at all. If North Korea launches missiles, how will we be able to evacuate in a more orderly way than elementary students in Japan who are conducting evacuation drills while Korean elementary students are without any safety measures.
Korean media has criticized the evacuation drills of Japan with flippant remarks and insist that their training is just Abe’s governmental policy of Japan spreading militarism. However, the foreign press sees South Korea as a rather strange situation, even if the country doesn’t train about North Korea’s missile provocation. South Korea doesn’t have to encourage the fear of war, but we need to be prepared for the danger we may face.
|▲Japanese elementary school students in missile evacuation training|
By Gwon Min Gwan, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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