Citizens of Japan were awoken this morning to a haunting text message, which simply read: “A missile was fired from North Korea. Please evacuate to a sturdy building or basement”. The alert, which was sent directly to millions of cell phones across Japan, was the early morning alarm that nobody scheduled, but everyone responded to.
The message was sent in response to a North Korean missile, which was fired over Hokkaido, Japan at 5:58am local time. The launch is the latest, and most sinister, turn in the escalating stand-off between North Korea and the West.
Within hours of the missile launch, South Korea responded by dropping eight Mark 84 bombs, near Taebaek, Gangwon Province, which borders North Korea. South Korea released video footage of the drill, to show that they are ready to respond to North Korea, should they, “threaten the security of the South Korean people and the South Korea-US alliance,” as South Korean Colonel Lee Kuk-no warned. But, that wasn’t all he warned…
In a statement, read in a video released by South Korea, Colonel Lee Kuk-no chillingly warns: “our air forces will exterminate the leadership of North Korea with our strong strike capabilities.” This message was echoed by the South Korean government, who published a statement via Yonhap news, which states: “We are fully ready for any threat from the North and will make unwavering efforts to protect the lives of our people and the security of our nation.”
The rocket launched by North Korea shattered into three pieces off the coast of Hokkaido, before coming to rest in the Pacific Ocean after travelling 1,700 miles in just eight minutes. Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which landed around 700 miles from Cape Erimo.
Meanwhile, millions of Japanese citizens awoke to chilling texts which advised them to evacuate to a safe place. Whilst residents took cover, train services across Japan were halted, with commuters simply being told that there was “disruption due to missile launch”. Residents in the north of Japan were warned via text that debris of the missile may have fallen in the area. The message explicitly told them not to touch any wreckage.
The missile launch comes in the wake of Donald Trump’s threat to North Korea. The US President issued a statement in which he warned: “[Kim Jong-un] has been very threatening beyond a normal state and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
It is believed that Kim Jong-un, the young North Korean dictator, fired the rocket over Japan because it is the path to the US Pacific territory of Guam, which he threatened to attack two weeks ago. Whilst some analysts believe the missile may have been fired due to a fault.
This morning, Donald Trump has advised that “all options are on the table”, in a statement responding to the missile launch. The US President and the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe have confirmed that they are “totally at one” in attempting to resolve the tensions with North Korea.