mandag 14. august 2017

Japan fears the once distant threat of North Korean missiles is becoming real

As sirens pierce the air in Sakata, a town on Japan’s north-west coast, primary school children rush from the playground to the safety of the gymnasium. Other residents crouch behind walls or lie down in rice fields, while the public address system urges them to take cover. More accustomed to the dangers of earthquakes and tsunami, Japan’s people are now having to address a new, manmade threat: North Korean missiles.

In a civil defence drive that has echoes of preparations for US bombing raids during the second world war, Sakata and dozens of other towns across Japan are preparing themselves for what, until recently, represented a distant nuisance that most Japanese regarded with insouciance.