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Japan The Military

Japan Activated Air Raid Sirens During North Korea's Missile Test Monday (cnn.com) 116

"No country should have missiles flying over them like those 130 million people in Japan," the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said Monday. Though it was only a test, the scene on-the-ground is described by Slashdot reader AppleHoshi: Our phones went crazy on receipt of an automated alert from the "J-Alert" system. Shortly afterwards, loudspeakers broadcast another alert (there are loudspeakers everywhere in Japan, to warn of earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons). As normal with any disaster situation in Japan, all of the available television channels immediately switched over to full-coverage mode, with a repetition of what the situation was ("There's a missile heading in the direction of north-central Japan") followed by basic instructions of what to do ("If it comes down in your area, try to extinguish any fires and immediately inform your local police and fire departments").

Shortly before twenty past six we got the news that the missile had over-flown northern Japan and landed in the Pacific, about 1,000 km [621 miles] from the coast of Hokkaido. The "all-clear" was broadcast over the local speakers a short while later. Strange as it may seem, this all had an air of normality about it. Japan gets more than it's fair share of natural disasters, so anyone living here gets plenty of exposure to this same routine. (It's just that the reason is usually an earthquake, typhoon or tsunami, rather than a megalomaniac).

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Japan Activated Air Raid Sirens During North Korea's Missile Test Monday

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  • Precision... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @06:46PM (#55106797)

    TFS seems to imply that the alert was activated everywhere in Japan. The subtitle on the linked CNN page mentions Northern Japan.
    I live in Tokyo, and heard or saw no such alert.

  • Strange as it may seem, this all had an air of normality about it. Japan gets more than it's fair share of natural disasters, so anyone living here gets plenty of exposure to this same routine. (It's just that the reason is usually an earthquake, typhoon or tsunami, rather than a megalomaniac).

    Which megalomaniac are we talking about here?

  • Trying to settle a bet with a friend. Can anyone come up with a reasonable estimate of how many nukes it would take to destroy N. Korea's warhead collection and neutralize their military forces? Would the number and placement have massive long-term health effects in Seoul and the region? Or is it possible the S. Korea and neighbors come away mostly unscathed?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't like Steve Bannon, but I think he had a good talking point on this:

      “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

    • Seoul will take big damage from shelling and maybe even some chemical attacks

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... reasonable estimate of how many nukes ...

      The first problem is, most of NK's known missile batteries are empty, making it difficult to know which ones should be disabled as a precaution and which turned into a radioactive desert. The second problem is that detection of hidden missile batteries is done by eyes-on-the-ground, especially in NK where most of the real missiles are mobile; which the US is bad at, is extra-difficult in enemy territory, and the US uses for political point-scoring (eg. WMDs in Iraq), not actual military intelligence. The

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Only 1 - Once you've hit Pyongyang's annual military parade with it you've destroyed the entire North Korean leadership and 90% of their military capabilities all in one shot.

      • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
        I've always thought military parades were a very bad idea for that very reason. However a pre-eminent strike that also kills thousands of innocent civilians is not going to win you much support.

        Anything that happens, Seoul will be leveled by traditional artillery. The NK leadership must know that any military conflict is a suicide mission and they simply want to inflict as much damage as they can.
        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          "Anything that happens, Seoul will be leveled by traditional artillery."

          Apparently this is largely a myth, North Koreas only long range artillery is pretty large and slow to move around. It's also not particularly numerous. As such whilst it would do some nasty damage in Seoul you'd probably only be talking a few hundred dead before counter-fire destroyed all that long range artillery.

          The rest of the artillery would have to come close to the border to hit Seoul, and so would likely have already been flatten

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      I see you have never heard of "nuclear fallout" and "prevailing winds" in the same sentence. What kind of an idiot would decide to nuke a country upwind from the U.S....oh shit, never mind....

  • Try to extinguish any fires? Sure, right after I put myself out. Go ahead Kimmy, shoot one over the USA to test our reaction. You'll LOVE IT!
  • Has anyone thought of putting a small thermonuclear device in Dennis Rodman and sending him back over to Pyongyang.
    • Next time on Celebrity suicide missions.

      • Celebrity suicide missions

        From the producers of "Big Brother Death Match" - the show where the contestants have to kill one household member a week.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      I thought Dennis Rodman was a small nuclear device. Maybe el Presidente Tweetie will start hosting him the Oval Office, it's all about the ratings y'know.

  • The headline writer is in the wrong time zone.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    America could stop doing wargames in North Korea's backyard twice a year.
    What am I thinking? What's a few million civilian deaths in determining which psychopathic government are the biggest assholes?

  • Scaremongering (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djinn6 ( 1868030 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:49PM (#55107753)
    What's the point of scaring everyone with this? If it's a missile test, it would have been announced beforehand to anyone who cares to listen. If it's a real attack, then there's no point telling people to put out fires started by the missile. I suspect there's a political reason they're doing this, maybe to get the public riled up to join a US-led coalition agains NK, or maybe just for more defense budget.
    • Re:Scaremongering (Score:5, Informative)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @11:49PM (#55107951)
      There is no political reason. The U.S. would be involved whether or not they activated the sirens. The U.S. is obligated by treaties wrapping up the loose ends of WWII [wikipedia.org] to provide for Japan's defense against foreign attack. The treaties and Japanese Constitution limit Japan's military [wikipedia.org] to operating domestically to repel an invasion. The JSDF is not allowed to operate outside Japan, though that clause has been stretched recently to allow Japan to participate in UN peacekeeping missions. Since that leaves Japan extremely vulnerable to foreign attack, the treaties make defending Japan from outside Japan's borders the responsibility of the U.S.

      So in this particular case (foreign missile overflying Japan), not only is a U.S. response warranted, it's required.
      • When WWII ended neither the US nor Japan was amicable with each other.

        We are well past the friendship stage now ... and well past the point of needing to retire that treaty.

        It served its purpose. Belongs in the waste bin of history now.
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Because allowing the Norks to perfect their missile technology is a bad idea for the future when they might use it?

    • Re:Scaremongering (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2017 @04:46AM (#55108567)

      What's the point of scaring everyone with this?

      What's the point of an alert system?

      If it's a missile test, it would have been announced beforehand to anyone who cares to listen.

      Ahh but was it? As far as I could tell this came as somewhat of a surprise. And even if it was, and even if the intended destination was announced, NK's missiles do not have a reputation of reliably getting all the way to their target. Many seem to fall out of the sky early.

      If it's a real attack, then there's no point telling people to put out fires started by the missile.

      Of course there is. Context of what happens in a disaster is important to an emergency response. Was that explosion right now a terrorist attack with local threats still present, or was it a one off ordinance where we can go in and provide aid and mittigate further damage straight away? Maybe it was a gas explosion and therefore people shouldn't go into the area. There's a lot that can change with a bit of context.

      I suspect there's a political reason they're doing this

      Yes there is. An emergency alert system that doesn't announce an emergency due to someone in the government deciding it shouldn't definitely would have political consequences if an incident happened.

    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
      North Korean missiles aren't the most reliable... it was completely plausible for the thing to fail and land in Japan, even if they had intended for it to land in the ocean.

      I'm surprised you didn't take your conspiracy theory one step farther and claim it wasn't actually a missile from N. Korea, but one launched from a US submarine in conjunction with the Japanese government to stir up anti N. Korea sentiment.

      Back to reality, the whole event didn't take very long. You honestly believe there was enoug
  • WTF is ''more than it is fair share'' supposed to mean?

  • Would NK freak out if Japan decided to shoot down the warhead? Technically it's flying over their territory. Does that set a bad precedent?

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.

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