Ja­panese co­nun­drum — take cover, but where?

Gulf News - - World -

Korea De­fence and Se­cu­rity Fo­rum, told AFP that Kim’s stated am­bi­tion of achiev­ing a mil­i­tary bal­ance was some way off.

“It’s too un­re­al­is­tic for North Korea to reach equi­lib­rium in nu­clear force with the US even if it’s true that the North has been mak­ing a rapid progress in its nu­clear drive,” he said.

The North has raised global ten­sions with its rapid progress in weapons tech­nol­ogy un­der Kim, who is reg­u­larly pic­tured by state me­dia over­see­ing launches and vis­it­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

“The lat­est launch, which was ap­par­ently made from a TEL (trans­porter erec­tor launcher) in­stead of a makeshift launch pad, means the North is now ready to de­ploy the IRBM Hwa­song-12 for com­bat pur­poses,” he said.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and his French coun­ter­part Em­manuel Macron jointly ap­pealed for talks with North Korea, say­ing this was the only way to re­solve ten­sions. Nu­clear weapons de­ter con­ven­tional wars, Peter D. Zim­mer­man writes

Take cover in a sturdy build­ing, or get un­der­ground. That’s the emer­gency ad­vice given to the Ja­panese peo­ple in the event of a North Korean mis­sile strike. But there are two big prob­lems: most Ja­panese homes are made of wood and lack a base­ment. In the coun­try­side, there is of­ten no build­ing made of con­crete.

And with only a mat­ter of min­utes from launch to im­pact, there’s sim­ply no time to take cover.

As North Korea this week fired its se­cond mis­sile over Ja­pan in less than a month and threat­ened to “sink” the coun­try into the sea with nu­clear weapons, many Ja­panese feel a sense of help­less­ness in the face of the threat from Py­ongyang.

Sushi chef Isamu Oya, 67, who runs a restau­rant in the small fish­ing town of Erimo, right un­der the flight path of Fri­day’s mis­sile, summed up the feel­ings of many. “The gov­ern­ment told us to take cover in a sta­ble build­ing or un­der­ground, but there isn’t one here. We have no choice but just do noth­ing.

In a sur­vey pub­lished last week by the NHK chan­nel, more than half of the Ja­panese peo­ple (52 per cent) said they were “very wor­ried” about the threat.

Some are tak­ing mat­ters into their own hands. Shel­ter maker Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, based in the west­ern city of Kobe, has re­ported a healthy in­crease in de­mand. But a shel­ter is not an op­tion for the masses. It takes four months to build and costs a hefty 25 mil­lion yen (Dh829,138) for a unit to keep 13 peo­ple safe.

On the streets of Tokyo, some were car­ry­ing on re­gard­less. Ken Tanaka, a free­lance web de­signer, said he “didn’t care” about the launch. “I’m 21 years old and it doesn’t seem real to me.”

AP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (cen­tre) cel­e­brates what was said to be the test launch of an in­ter­me­di­ate range Hwa­song-12 mis­sile at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in North Korea. In­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ists were not given ac­cess to cover the event.

Reuters

Kim Jong-un (not pic­tured) guided the launch of a Hwa­song-12 mis­sile in this com­bi­na­tion photo re­leased by North Korea’s Korean Cen­tral News Agency yes­ter­day.

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