Japanese capital holds first North Korean missile attack drill

Tokyo holds 1st anti-ballistic missile evacuation drill

Japan holds evacuation drill amid tension from North Korea

It is a sign of the times: Tokyo has conducted its first public drill to prepare for the possibility of a missile attack from North Korea.

The latest drill was conducted jointly by the Bunkyo Ward office, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Cabinet Secretariat and others at two subway stations and an amusement park located in the ward.

Participants gather as an official speaks following a missile-attack drill in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

A loudspeaker in the park rang out a terrifying warning, urging people to seek shelter indoors or underground as the drill began.

Similar evacuation exercises simulating North Korean missile attacks have been held in various other regions, beginning with one in Akita Prefecture last March.

Despite an appearance of thawing tensions on the Korean peninsula, with the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned the Japanese people to remain vigilant, and said threat from North Korea was "unprecedented" and "imminent".

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At the amusement park, rides were suspended and drill participants were taken to an underground passage.

"I don't want to participate in such a drill and I am against it, as it is a way to promote a war", said Ikie Kamioka, 77, a former primary school teacher who was among dozens of people who rallied in protest against the drill. "We must have North Korea give up its nuclear and missile development completely in a verifiable and irreversible way", said Abe.In September previous year, North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

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

North Korea has singled out Japan, a key USA ally in the region, for verbal attacks, threatening to "sink" the country into the sea and to turn it into "ashes". But there was something of an, too, when public broadcaster NHK sent out an erroneous alert saying North Korea had launched a ballistic missile.The message, received by phone users with the NHK app installed on their devices, read: "NHK news alert". Japan has also announced massive new purchases of military equipment, primarily from the United States.Speaking to CNN, Protester Tomoko Ito described the drills as "a practice for war".

"Although I was given explanations, I didn't know what to do once the announcement was made", said a 23-year-old company employee. "I doubt if a missile is actually fired at Japan, and a drill like this is effective when there is a real missile attack".

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