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Japan Fury Over ABM Leaks By US Navy

Photo courtesy AFP.
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington DC (UPI) July 11, 2007
Japanese defense officials are furious that the U.S. Navy leaked details of a successful, top-secret missile defense exercise last week to the media, the Japan Times reported Wednesday. The newspaper said the Japanese Defense Ministry had wanted the details of the July 6 exercise to be kept tightly secret.

Ironically, the exercise was a complete success, the newspaper said. It was to confirm the length of time it would take to inform Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office that North Korea had launched a ballistic missile strike against the Japanese mainland. The time involved was only one minute, the paper said.

However, details of the exercise, including the one minute time to informing Prime Minister Abe's office, were revealed to the public Monday in a news release that the Japan Times identified as being sent out by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Schwarz of the U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs office.

Japanese officials indicated to the Japan Times they were taken aback by publication of the one-minute time of delivering the news. They told the paper they had not timed it explicitly.

"The main purpose of the exercise was to test if communications channels and devices work. We didn't measure the time," said one senior Japanese Defense Ministry official. "We wonder how the U.S. measured it."

"This time, we actually passed the tracking information all the way to Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe's office," Schwarz said in the release quoted in the Japan Times report.

The newspaper said Japanese experts believe it would only take 10 minutes for North Korean missiles to strike their targets in Japan after being fired.

earlier related report
Expert fears Japan missile panic
Japanese experts are concerned that their public needs to be educated in orderly evacuation procedures to avoid mass panic and needlessly heavy casualties in the event of a North Korean missile strike against a Japanese city, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported Wednesday.

The paper said that Teikyo University Professor Toshiyuki Shikata, a crisis management councilor for the Tokyo metropolitan government, had expressed concern about the public's behavior after an explosion in a Tokyo spa on June 19 killed three people, destroying a building.

"If it had been a missile carrying a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead, many people who could have survived initially would have lost their lives," Shikata said.

The paper noted that wide-ranging emergency plans to warn and protect the public already existed in the event of any missile strike against civilian areas. It said the Japanese government would announce advance alerts and warn the public to protect themselves in underground shelters or other buildings.

"However, nobody can guarantee an evacuation would run smoothly because no drill has been conducted," the newspaper said.

Shikata warned that a strike against a Japanese metropolitan area by a nuclear armed missile could kill as many as 300,000 people -- more than three times the number killed in either of the 1945 A-bomb attacks that destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"North Korea would surely target Kasumigaseki (Japan's political center in central Tokyo)," he told the newspaper. "The margin of accuracy of North Korean missiles is about 2-1/2 kilometers. Even if a missile veered to the west, it would hit the Yotsuya area."

The Yomiuri Shimbun noted that although North Korea says it has developed the capability to make nuclear weapons, it appears still to be some distance from being able to miniaturize them sufficiently to place them on any missile.

North Korea has so far failed to test-fire any intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States. But it has repeatedly successfully test-fired intermediate-range missiles capable of reaching cities in Japan.

Source: United Press International

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Washington (UPI) July 09, 2007
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