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Nervous about nuclear war, Japanese civilians are installing tropical island-themed bunkers

Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., poses wearing a gas mask at a model room for the companyÕs nuclear shelters in the basement of his house in Osaka
Be prepared. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

With nearby North Korea increasing its show of power day by day with missile launches and nuclear tests, people in Japan are preparing for the worst by building private nuclear shelters, Reuters reports.

In Japan, small companies offering custom-built underground nuclear shelters claim a boost in sales in recent weeks. Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, based in Kobe, western Japan, told Reuters it typically receive six shelter-building orders a year, but has received eight orders in April alone. Another company, Earth Shift, says it has received 10 times more inquiries for quotes this year.

The entrance of a Shelter Co.’s nuclear-shelter model room, in the basement of the company’s CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto’s house in Osaka, Japan. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

A Reuters photographer recently took a tour of Shelter Co.’s sales model, built in the Osaka home of the company’s CEO, Seiichiro Nishimoto. The air-tight basement features an anti-blast door, an anti-radiation air purifier, a tunnel exit, a Geiger counter, a television, gas masks, and other emergency supplies. Perhaps anticipating that residents confined underground would like to be reminded of a peaceful radiation-free world, the shelter’s ceiling is painted in bright blue skies, and has wallpaper depicting a tropical palm tree-lined beach. Nishimoto claimed in a 2009 interview with AFP that his business had seen a record number of sales in the days between the announcement and launch of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan at the time.

Radiation-fighting air purifiers. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Radiation-fighting air purifiers. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Nishimoto demonstrates how to manually charge a radiation-fighting air purifier in case of power outage. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
The exit of Shelter Co.’s nuclear shelter sales model. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Nishimoto’s Osaka home, where Shelter Co.’s nuclear shelter sales model is installed. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

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