Shibuya crossing, Shibuya area, Tokyo, Japan, Asia. Photo: AFP

Tokyo will conduct mass evacuation drills between January and March of next year to prepare residents for possible nuclear missile attacks — in the first such civil defense exercises since World War II.

Japan’s Sankei Shimbun said on Sunday, in a report picked up by international media, that the government had avoided ordering drills simulating a North Korean nuke attack until now, for fear of alarming the Japanese capital’s population of 9.3 million. Millions will reportedly engage in the practice move which focuses on central Tokyo.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly told the Budget Committee of the House of Councilors, or Upper House, last week that he will press local governments to identify sturdy buildings or underground facilities that can be used as shelters to protect people against a North Korean attack.

Upwards of 13 million live in the greater Tokyo area.

Hawaii did drill last week

The US State of Hawaii carried out its first nuclear evacuation drill since the end of the Cold War last Friday. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency reportedly sounded hundreds of civil defense sirens across the island for approximately one minute.

Civil authorities called on local residents to stay indoors for 15 minutes and asked them to tune into an emergency radio band. School students were also required to engage in duck-and-cover drills reminiscent of the Cold War.

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