‘Missile launch, take cover’ » Manila Bulletin News




Tokyo – ‘’Missile launch! Missile launch! A missile appears to have been launched from North Korea. Take cover in a building or underground.’’

To the accompaniment of blaring sirens and emergency phone alerts, that was the terrifying loudspeaker message that jolted millions of Japanese awake in the early hours as North Korea blasted its second missile over the country in less than a month.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that Japan could ‘’never tolerate’’ such ‘’dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace’’.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (AFP | Manila Bulletin)

‘’If North Korea continues to walk down this path, it has no bright future. We must make North Korea understand this,’’ he added.

‘’We can never tolerate that North Korea trampled on the international community’s strong, united resolve toward peace that has been shown in UN resolutions and went ahead again with this outrageous act,’’ Abe told reporters.

‘’If North Korea continues to walk down this path, it has no bright future. We must make North Korea understand this,’’ he added.

Japan was jolted awake in the early hours by an alert saying North Korea had fired a missile over its northern island of Hokkaido, the second such launch in less than a month.

Abe called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and stressed: ‘’Now is the time for the international community to be united.’’

But for local residents on the flight path over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, there was no question of this becoming a routine event.

‘’I cannot say that we are used to this. I mean, the missile flew right above our town. It’s not a very comforting thing to hear,’’ said Yoshihiro Saito, who works in the small fishing town of Erimo on Hokkaido.

‘’It’s pretty scary. I heard that it went 2,000 kilometers in the Pacific and dropped in the sea’’ where 16 of his ships were operating under the missile’s flight path.

Citizens in earthquake-prone Japan are well-drilled in seeking cover when emergency strikes but with only a matter of minutes from launch to impact, several residents voiced a feeling of helplessness.

‘’It’s really scary. The government tells us to flee to stable buildings but we can’t do that quickly. Our colleagues offshore can never take cover,’’ said Yoichi Takahashi, 57, a fisheries official in Kushiro on Hokkaido.

‘’It has now happened twice to us … We’ll have restless days from now on,’’ Takahashi told AFP.

Breakfast television programs across Japan, usually broadcasting a light-hearted diet of children’s shows and gadget features, instead flashed up the warning message as the intermediate range ballistic missile flew overhead.

Mobile carriers in Japan sent automatic text messages to rouse customers awake.

Train services between Japan’s main island and Hokkaido were temporarily suspended after the launch and bullet train services were also halted.

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