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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Panic-buying nuclear bomb shelters in Japan as threat of war looms

Companies are also selling out of air purifiers to protect against poison gas after warnings Kim could launch deadly sarin

SALES of nuclear bomb shelters and air purifiers to protect against poisonous gases have suddenly surged in Japan as the threat of war with North Korea looms.

Tensions have been rising in the region after repeated missile tests by Kim Jong-un’s despotic regime.

The rogue state recently showed off its new breed of missiles in a massive military parade in Pyongyang.

And the country warned “nuclear war could break out at any moment” as it vowed to test its rockets every week.

While North Korea’s missiles cannot yet reach most of the US mainland, they can strike at key US allies in the region – such as South Korea and Japan.

Now, a small Japanese company that specialises in building nuclear shelters has revealed its orders have gone through the roof as terrified civilians prepare for the worst.

Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, based in Kobe, western Japan, has received eight orders in April alone –compared with six orders during the whole of a typical year.

The business has also sold out its stock of 50 Swiss-made air purifiers, which are said to keep out radiation and poisonous gas, and is trying to get more, according to company director Nobuko Oribe.

A purifier designed for six people sells for 620,000 yen (£4,388) and one designed for 13 people and usually installed in a family-use shelter costs 1.7million yen (£12,034).

Concerns about a possible gas attack have grown in Japan after PM Shinzo Abe told a parliament session this month that North Korea may have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with deadly sarin nerve gas.

Oribe said: “It takes time and money to build a shelter. But all we hear these days, in this tense atmosphere, is that they want one now.

“They ask us to come right away and give them an estimate.”

Some orders for the shelters were placed by owners of small-sized companies for their employees, and others by families, Oribe said.

A nuclear shelter for up to 13 people costs about 25million yen (£176,808) and takes about four months to build, he said.

The shelter his company offers is a reinforced, air-tight basement with an air purifier that can block radiation as well as poisonous gas.

The room is designed to withstand a blast even when a Hiroshima-class nuclear bomb exploded just 660 metres away, Oribe added.

Another small Japanese company, Earth Shift, based in the southern Shizuoka prefecture, says it has seen a tenfold increase in inquiries and quotes for its underground shelters.

Akira Shiga, a sales manager at the company said the inquiries began gradually increasing in February and have come from all over the country.

The Japanese government on Friday urged local governments to hold evacuation drills in case of a possible missile attack, heightening a sense of urgency among the public.

By Tom Michael

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