Tokyo, March 17 (IANS) Japan on Friday conducted its first-ever evacuation drill in case of a possible future North Korean missile attack at a time of growing tension following Pyongyang's last test.
The drill took place at Oga Akita prefecture with a population of 30,000 people, in order to ensure rapidity in informing the population and facilitating a safe and speedy evacuation, Efe news reported.
One of the four medium-range missiles launched by North Korea earlier this month fell around 200 km off the coast of Akita, the closest a Pyongyang missile has ever been to the Japanese territory, according to the government.
During the drill some 110 residents and other participants were moved to a sports centre and a primary school designated for evacuation purposes which are equipped with the J-Alert warning system from the Japanese government.
The system works via satellite to allow sound alerts to be activated for emergencies in a matter of seconds. It is also used in cases of natural disaster and is the link between the central government and local authorities.
Oga also verified the operation of its wireless transmission system used to send information received to the residents through loudspeakers, mobile phones and other communication tools, reported local news agency Kyodo.
The Japanese government had earlier conducted J-Alert system tests with municipal authorities, but this was the first time that residents participated in a drill.
Tokyo decided to carry out the trial run in the face of repeated ballistic missile tests by the Pyongyang regime, which in 2016 alone launched more than 20 projectiles.
North Korea has conducted two such tests so far this year, the latest on March 6 when it fired four medium-range missiles in what Pyongyang described as a trial with missiles aimed at reaching US army bases in Japan.