Skip to navigationSkip to content
EPA/Franck Robichon
In the event of nuclear annihilation, don’t forget your poncho.
SINGLE FILE, PLEASE

Nervous about its neighbors, Tokyo staged a mock nuclear strike

Johnny Simon
By Johnny Simon

Deputy Photo Editor

As nuclear tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world remain high, shelter and evacuation drills have been increasingly common across Japan. But until this week, none had taken place in its capital city. Today, Tokyo held its first-ever drill to practice safe evacuation procedures in the event of a missile strike, Reuters reports.

At an amusement part in Central Tokyo, participants played the roles of visitors to the park, sitting at picnic tables and various rides, the Associated Press reported. Then public speakers declared a missile strike was imminent and to seek shelter immediately.

With only about 300 people reportedly taking part in the drills, photos of the exercise was less a measure of the disaster-readiness of Tokyo’s 9-million-plus residents, as it was a message of calm and reassurance to the public. Nevertheless, the drill was met by protestors who felt it only perpetuated fear. Mari Chihara, a 68-year-old pacifist told the Associated Press, “I doubt if a missile is actually fired at Japan, and a drill like this is effective when there is a real missile attack.”

Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
An official directs participants during an anti-missile evacuation drill at the Tokyo Dome City amusement park in Tokyo, Japan on Jan. 22.
Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Participants make their way during an anti-missile evacuation drill in Tokyo.
EPA/Franck Robichon
People participate at a missile evacuation drill at an amusement park near Tokyo Dome stadium in Tokyo.
AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
Participants take refuge during an evacuation drill simulating a North Korea ballistic missile attack in Tokyo.
AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
Participants are guided during an evacuation drill simulating a North Korea ballistic missile attack in Tokyo.
AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
Protesters shout slogans outside the venue of an evacuation drill simulating a North Korea ballistic missile attack in Tokyo.
AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
Protesters shout slogans outside the venue of an evacuation drill simulating a North Korea ballistic missile attack in Tokyo.
EPA/Franck Robichon
Protesters against the drill.