The war of words over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program has been as dramatic as it has been concerning.
Kim Jong Un’s regime has said the entire United States is in its sights. Not to be outdone, President Donald Trump has promised “fire and fury” in a departure from the more measured tones of previous U.S. presidents.
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In Japan, the entirety of which is within the range of North Korea’s weapons, leading politicians have spoken of “a new level of threat” in recent weeks.
Two North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) landed off the coast of Japan last month.
Japan is also the only country to ever have nuclear weapons used upon on it, when the U.S. did so in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
On the streets of Tokyo, feeling was mixed over the level of threat currently posed.
“What if North Korea misfires? There’s the possibility that a missile could fall into offshore territory or onto our land itself," said one man who declined to give his name. "I’m a bit nervous."
However, another chimed in with: “I’m a little scared but the situation doesn’t really concern me.”
American Michael Wright, who lives and works in Japan with his family. says he is unfazed by the situation and has no plans to leave.
He said: "They’ve [Japan] have been under threat for a long time so it doesn’t matter. The Chinese are flying planes in here, you know, a thousand times, the Russians are flying in, so they’ve been under this mode for a long time," he added. "I think there is heightened awareness. But like I said, they’ve been living this way for a while now."
Fellow U.S. citizen Karen Brady moved to Japan with her husband and one-year-old daughter. She too was unconcerned: "If the threat was for Japan, we wouldn’t have come," she added. "I mean my concerns personally are if my daughter is having a good day at daycare and when the next earthquake’s going to be, because it kind of freaks me out."