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Manga against the North Korean threat in Hokkaido
Official authorities of the island issued an unusual instruction for residents in case of missile launch by North Korea
In the figure - practical advice. Schoolchildren hide under the tables, the farmer jumps out of the tractor in the field and lies face to the ground, and the sailors of the fishing vessel hide behind the felling. The characters are fictitious, but they are playing the script, which in the last few months has become frighteningly real: a North Korean missile strike.
A few weeks after the two ballistic missiles flew over Hokkaido, local authorities attended to issuing a short comic strip with tips from residents on what to do in the event of a test launch of missiles or, even worse, a rocket attack.
Manga begins with the depiction of scenes of everyday life: a woman commits a morning run, a man in a suit goes to work, a farmer cultivates the field. The next moment the girl wakes up from the alarm on the smartphone, warning of the launch of the rocket, and the TV presenter notifies the residents about the need to urgently seek refuge. The main figure shows the starting North Korean missile, which will fall into the sea east of Hokkaido.
The four-page survival manual, created by the manga artist Manabu Yamamoto, uses a small set of characters. It will explain what 5,5 millions of Hokkaido residents need to do after reporting missile launches.
The guideline recommends that residents take shelter in solid buildings or in underground shelters, and that, less efficiently, lie face to face with a hand or a pillow.
Hokkaido, a sparsely populated and largely agricultural region in northern Japan, is not likely to be one of the priority targets for Pyongyang's attack. But Japan has reason to worry after the last launch of missiles by North Korea.
The North Korean long-range missile flew for the first time over the territory of Japan in 1998, but under Kim Jong-un, the number of test launches increased dramatically.
In August, a Hwasong-12 medium-range missile flew over Hokkaido, and an alarm was announced in Hokkaido early in the morning. In the middle of September, there were still worries on the island and sirens that warned of the launch of missiles. These missiles flew farther than all the previous ones.
And just a few days ago, North Korea warned that it would "sink" Japan in response to its support of the United States, which led the new tough sanctions of the UN Security Council.
"Four Japanese islands must go under water," says a statement by the official North Korean news agency ZTAC "Japan should no longer exist next to us."
A colorful manga was released after Hokkaido residents complained that the authorities' advice on what to do in the case of a missile strike is incomprehensible. The distance between North Korea and Japan is small, and the inhabitants of Japan have less than 10 minutes to follow the instructions. During the recent launches of missiles, many residents, not knowing how to react, simply "continued to live their own lives."
"We decided to release the manga after we heard that it is difficult for Hokkaido residents to understand the current instruction," said the official of the Hokkaido authorities Kiyomi Tanabe.
The local government placed the manga on its website and sent out by e-mail to schools and government organizations for printing and distribution.
In early October, Japan was preparing for the next launch of missiles, when North Korea celebrated the 72 anniversary of the ruling Labor Party. The anniversary passed without incident, but there are suggestions that North Korea plans a new launch in response to joint US-South Korean naval exercises east of the Korean peninsula or in connection with the visit to Japan of Donald Trump as part of the first Asian tour. The visit will begin on 5 November.