March 17 (UPI) — Japan conducted an unprecedented evacuation drill to prepare for North Korea provocations.
Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported the drill was carried out Friday in Oga City, Akita Prefecture, and involved the mobilization of local residents to safe shelters.
About 100 people took part in the drills, which included transmission of information across “J-Alert,” a national emergency alert system that can transmit urgent messages nationwide.
The exercise began 9:30 a.m. on Friday when radio broadcasts informed participants of a “missile launch.”
When the evacuation began, about 40 students participating in their morning exercises at school stopped their activities and quickly rushed to their indoor gymnasium, according to the report.
Dozens of other residents were ordered to seek shelter in the gymnasium of the local town hall.
One man in his 60s told the Yomiuri the “training was a good experience” because it simulated real-life tensions that would ensue if a ballistic missile dropped in the Sea of Japan.
“There is much concern” because of recent North Korea provocations, the man said.
Tokyo is seriously concerned about North Korea’s provocations, which have included dozens of ballistic missile tests and two nuclear tests in 2016.
Japan has not been able to intercept projectiles that have fallen in its maritime exclusive economic zone.
Three of the four missiles North Korea test-launched on March 6 fell in Japan-claimed waters, or about 200 miles away from Oga City.