North Korea: Japan hosts first ballistic missile evacuation drill

North Korea: Japan hosts first ballistic missile evacuation drill

North Korea: Japan hosts first ballistic missile evacuation drill

Updated 23 January 2018, 6:40 AEDT

While tensions between North and South Korea ease, Japanese Government officials are not taking any chances as the country hosts its first ballistic missile evacuation drill.

Japan is escalating its efforts to prepare its citizens for war, with Tokyo hosting its first ballistic missile evacuation drill.

While tensions between North and South Korea have eased over the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Japanese Government officials were not taking any chances.

The choreographed evacuations at a community centre, amusement park and subway involved 300 volunteers, simulating a missile launch from 'Country X'.

"An advisory about a missile launch was just issued. Everyone, please stay calm and seek shelter in the basement," messages blared over the loudspeakers at the amusement park.

A security guard ran across the complex, shouting "A missile was launched!".

Volunteer evacuee Shizuko Noda, 91, said many participants needed to take the drill more seriously.

"I'm worried that everybody is too relaxed — it has to be done more quickly," she said.

"When I think about the air raid during the war, this drill makes me worry, wondering if this is okay."

Another volunteer evacuee, Munehisa Takayama, said he could not hear any announcements saying a missile had been fired.

The 10-minute drill was scripted and tightly controlled — participants knew exactly what to do.

Drill slammed for being a 'war game'

Police scuffled with anti-war protesters demonstrating against what they criticised as a "war game that fanned public fear".

"I think these missile drills only fan missile scare among the Japanese people and their animosity toward North Korea," Mari Chihara, a 68-year-old protester said.

"I doubt if a missile is actually fired at Japan, a drill like this is effective when there is a real missile attack."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday his country had a "precious chance to open the door" for a peaceful resolution to tensions on the Korean peninsula.

But the Japanese Government said North Korea remained a serious threat to the region.

Japanese Government official Hiroyuki Suenaga told the ABC many Japanese residents were not prepared for this type of missile drill.

"I don't think it's widely known yet and the people don't have a good understanding about it," he said.

"So it's important to repeatedly carry out this kind of drill and for the Government to inform the people."