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Local governments designate underground facilities as shelters against possible missile attacks

Sunday’s Nikkei wrote that an increasing number of local governments have recently designated subway stations and other large-scale underground facilities as public shelters against possible missile attacks. By June 1 of this year Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and other major cities had designated a total of 436 facilities for such a purpose. Only 123 such facilities in Japan had been so designated as of the end of last year. The paper wrote that local governments are becoming increasingly alarmed by the deteriorating security environment surrounding Japan, including North Korea’s missile development. Under the Civil Protection Law, the governments of prefectures and major cities are required to designate evacuation facilities in preparation for possible armed attacks. According to the Cabinet Office, a total of 94,125 facilities, including schools and other concrete buildings, had been designated nationwide by April 2021. However, 1,268, or 1%, of them are underground facilities. Governor Koike of Tokyo, which designated a total of 109 underground facilities including subway stations in May, said that Russia’s missile attacks on Kyiv demonstrated the importance of defending the capital.

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