Residents in Hokkaido, surprised but not frightened by North Korea’s second missile launch

admin   •   September 15, 2017   •   3694

A man walks past a TV set showing North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un in a news report about North Korea’s missile launch in Tokyo. REUTERS/Kim Kyun-Hoon

Hokkaido City officials and self-defense personnel scrambled early Friday to assess threats or damage after North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over the northern Japan for the second time in recent weeks.

Warning announcements about the missile blared around 7 a.m. In parts of northern Japan, while many residents received alerts on their mobile phones or saw warnings on TV with instructions to hide inside a building or a basement.

People at a crowded train station in Sapporo, Hokkaido’s prefectural capital city, had mixed reactions about the missile launch, with some still in disbelief.

“It just doesn’t feel real. I really don’t know what it’ll do,” said an elderly woman.

“It gives me the shivers. I feel like telling them to just stop it now,” said an elderly man.

Meanwhile, Tokyo residents expressed fear that the missiles may fall on Japan if they are fired in that direction.

“It is very scary. The path [of the missile] goes over Japan, so I’m concerned as to what may happen,” said Satoshi Nagatsuka, a food industry worker.

“[My home is in] Hakodate [Hokkaido], and when I look at the path of the missile, it looks like it is flying over that area and that is very scary. If the missile doesn’t fall into the sea and falls somewhere else, I wonder what will happen,” Reiko Ota, a retiree.

The launch was made a day after North Korea’s threatened to ‘sink’ Japan and reduce U.S. to ‘ashes and darkness” using its nuclear weapons.

The missile reached an altitude of about 770 km and flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 3,700 km according to South Korea’s military far enough to reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. — Reuters

Tokyo residents welcome end of state of emergency

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

People in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday (May 26) woke up to their first day with loosened social distancing curbs, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency for all areas in the country on Monday (May 25).

Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures, as well as Hokkaido were the last remaining areas under emergency.

Many residents welcomed the government’s decision to end the emergency, though most said they are still alert for the virus since more people are out on the streets.

“I’m still a bit worried. There may be a second wave of an epidemic so we still need to be alert,” said 45-year-old Naoto Furuki who said the trains were a lot more crowded with commuters this morning.

With the emergency order lifted, Tokyo will move into “stage one” of loosening restrictions, allowing libraries and museums to reopen, and restaurants to stay open until later in the evening. Subsequent stages would see theatres, cinemas and fairgrounds reopen.

Company employee Daisuke Tominaga is happy that the emergency state is over, saying that the Japanese economy will collapse if businesses and people have to continue to live under restrictions.

“I want to go out drinking and attend concerts,” he said enthusiastically.

Many shops and restaurants have restarted operations since the government began lifting the emergency in rural and suburban areas earlier this month, but some stores remain closed. (Reuters)

(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Akiko Okamoto, Travis Teo)

Japan’s PM Abe extends state of emergency until end of May

UNTV News   •   May 4, 2020

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday (May 4) he has decided to extend the country’s national state of emergency to the end of the month.

Abe will consider lifting the nationwide state of emergency without waiting for its May 31 expiration if expert advisors decide that is possible based on detailed analysis of regional infection trends, he said at a meeting of the government’s coronavirus task force.

He said his advisors said that Japan had not seen the explosive surge in infections seen in some countries overseas, but the number of new infection cases had not fallen enough and there were regions where the medical system was facing strains.

For the 13 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka that have been hardest hit, a target of reducing person-to-person contacts by 80% would remain in place, Abe said. Japan will move gradually to a framework that will combine prevention of the spread of infections with maintaining social and economic activities, he added. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai)

Tokyo Olympics ‘difficult’ to host next year without vaccine, top doctor in Japan says

UNTV News   •   April 28, 2020

It will be difficult for Tokyo to host the Olympic Games next year unless there is an effective vaccine against the new coronavirus, the head of the Japan Medical Association said on Tuesday (April 28).

“I am not saying that Japan should or shouldn’t host the Olympics, but I expect it would be difficult to do so,” JMA president Yoshitake Yokokura said in a media briefing.

Yokokura also called on Japan to increase coronavirus testing, which he said was not sufficient enough to assess whether the number of cases has fallen in the country.

The one-year delay of the 2020 Olympic Games announced last month was a major blow to Japan, which had already spent $13 billion preparing for the event. As the outbreak has spread around the world, infecting almost three million people and killing more than 200,000, experts have warned that the fight against the virus could be prolonged. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

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