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How to stay safe when J-Alert warns missile approaching Japan

A J-Alert report about a North Korean missile launch is seen on a television screen in Tokyo on April 13, 2023. (Mainichi)

The Mainichi Shimbun has put together some advice on how to respond and stay safe when Japan's J-Alert early warning system for missiles is issued.

    According to the Cabinet Secretariat, J-Alert warnings may be sent out when a ballistic missile falls on Japanese land, in its seas or if it passes over the country's airspace. The government advises taking cover in a sturdy building or underground whenever possible to protect yourself from the blast wave and debris in the event of an impacting missile.

    If you're outdoors:

    It is advised to seek shelter in a nearby building, subway station, underground passage or other subterranean facility. Head for concrete and other sturdy buildings when possible. If there are no buildings in the area, hide next to another object or lay on the ground while covering your head.

    If you're indoors:

    Stay away from windows and go to a room without any windows, if possible. If your building has a basement, go there. If you're in a wooden building, evacuate to a stronger structure.

    If you're driving:

    If the warning is sent while you're behind the wheel, be aware that it's possible the gasoline in the vehicle could cause it to catch fire. Pull over and take cover in a nearby building or underground passage. If there are no such places in the area, get away from the vehicle, get onto the ground and remain still with your head covered. If J-Alert is issued while on expressways and other locations where it's dangerous to step out of the car, first stop the engine, and duck and wait in the vehicle.

    If you're traveling by train:

    If you're in a subway, remain calm and stay where you are. If riding a train that's at or above ground level, move away from windows, crouch down and protect your head.

    If you're traveling by boat:

    Follow the instructions of the ship's captain. Evacuate to a safe location within the boat. If any fallen objects are detected in the sea, keep away from them and report the information to the Japan Coast Guard.

    This advice was attained from sources including the Cabinet Secretariat and Japan Coast Guard.

    (Japanese original by Yuta Hiratsuka, Kyushu News Department)

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