As threats of nuclear war between North Korea and the United States continue to escalate, so have sales of bomb shelters in Japan. On Tuesday, the Japanese Defense Ministry said that “it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads,” and described the North Korean nuclear threat as having entered a “new stage.” These fears, exacerbated by continued missile testing by North Korea in the Sea of Japan as well as the continued saber-rattling between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump, have led to a surge in Japanese companies and families purchasing bomb shelters.
According to a recent article from Reuters, one company, Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, that usually sells 6 bomb shelters a year sold 8 in April of this year alone, with orders continuing to come in. The company also reported a huge jump in the sale of air purifiers and other survival necessities. “A year ago, we were getting maybe five calls a day about air purifiers, but it is 30 a day now” said spokeman Shota Hayashi in an interview with The Telegraph. “Virtually all of the calls are from people who want to install the filters at their homes rather than businesses,” Hayashi said. “Some people are very frightened by what is going on at the moment.” Due to the demand, customers are being placed on waiting lists. Earth Shift, a Japan-based bomb shelter manufacturer, reported a similar rise in sales and inquiries. “Each year, we have received only one or two orders to build underground shelters,” Earth Shift manager Akira Shiga told Al-Jazeera,“but now that the people have become afraid of North Korean missiles, there are many who want our shelters. We’ve become very busy.”
American companies are being similarly inundated with requests for information from Japan. Bloomberg reports that Rising S Co. in Texas, a manufacturer of underground shelters, saw inquiries double in July, with 80 percent coming from Japanese prospects. Rob Hubbard, owner of Atlas Survival, another shelter manufacturer, put it more succinctly, telling Bloomberg that “Japan’s going hog wild right now,” in terms of preparations.
With or without bomb shelters, an attack would require immediate action. A missile launched from North Korea would take approximately 10 minutes to strike Tokyo and its population of some 37 million people. Conservative estimates of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki put the number of dead and wounded at 150,000 and 75,000 respectively.