Japanese conundrum — take cover, but where?
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.”
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.
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.