Tokyo just held its first missile drill since World War II. According to CNN, the city, which is home to approximately 35 million people, simulated an incoming ballistic missile threat. Instructions were sent to civilians over text message and loudspeakers, near amusement parks, subway stations and civic centers.
In about 10 minutes, participants were safely rushed into predetermined shelters and underground passages.
“You’re looking to get inside a building. You’re looking to get as close to the center as possible, and ideally surrounded by dense material — concrete, things like that.” Jeff Schlegelmilch, of the National Center for Disease Preparedness at Columbia University, stated.
Ballistic missiles have been a steady threat in Japan, seeing how North Korea launched more than 20 missiles during tests in 2017, two of which flew over Japan. The drill followed a false alarm sent out by a Japanese broadcaster, days after another false alarm was issued in Hawaii. Emergency preparedness officials are calling the false alarms a “teachable moment.”
“We saw reactions to [the false alarms,] where we had people putting children into sewage drains under manholes and being so desperate and terrified by what is essentially a very terrifying moment.” Schlegelmilch stated. “But they did not have the opportunity to ask questions. So, what I tell people is, look at the resources that are out there. And then look at your situation, where are you throughout the day?”