Sep 15, 2017

Keep Calm and Carry On

So if you live in northern areas of Japan like I do, you received this J-alert message at 7:00 o'clock this morning warning of a North Korean missile launch.  I happened to be out on a walk this morning with my family.  My wife asked me what the message said, and I told her that North Korea launched a missile and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency was recommending everyone to take shelter in a building or underground.

What did we do?  We kept on walking.  

Why?  Because the threat of a North Korean missile landing on us is so infinitely small that it would be more dangerous for us to scramble in response to the alert.  North Korea is not targeting specific areas in Japan for attack.  Regional security conditions would have to get far worse for that to be the case.  The hazard then is if the missile fails and debris comes falling out of the sky.  In that case, it would be completely random where exactly the pieces will fall.  Sure, that is dangerous, but is it worth alerting a quarter of the nation and recommending that they take immediate shelter in the same manner as major geological or meteorological events?

Personally, I disagree with the practice of using a missile launch alert on the same system designed for earthquakes or natural disasters unless the trajectory data suggests that a specific area in Japan is being targeted.  Until then, leave the J-Alert to those hazards with high potential for damage to personnel or property.

So to all who may read this, I say if you see a J-Alert warning of a North Korean missile launch, I say, "Keep calm and carry on."



Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).

1 Comment

  • SalarymanJim

    on Sep 15

    Was thinking the same thing this morning. I woke up to an image of a TV screen on some social media platform. It was the warning put out by NHK, I think. It made the whole situation look pretty dire. Take shelter? Is that really necessary in a situation such as we had this morning? Maybe the authorities are worried about parts of the thing falling down or something, I'm not sure. I think though, they need to be careful about avoiding a "boy who cried wolf" situation. When we REALLY do need to take shelter (for whatever reason) but have become so nonplussed about all the over cautious alerts that we just get on with, I don't know, going to work or something. Without wanting to get conspiratorial or anything, but having a loonatic just across the water allows for authorities to try and get away with all sorts of stuff.