Japanese frantically gearing up for civil defense


Shades of the Cuban missile crisis. Weekly Playboy (May 15) reports that all of a sudden, Japanese have begun snatching up nuclear fallout shelters and air purifiers in unprecedented numbers. Seiichiro Nishimoto, president of the Habikino City-based Shelter, tells the magazine his business has been booming. The reason is simple: more people are concerned that if armed conflict breaks out on the Korean peninsula, Japan will be targeted by North Korean missiles.

"Over the past month, we've received over 200 requests for information," says Nishimoto. "Although up to now we've sold about five or six shelters a year, in April alone we've sold eight so far. And our answerphone's recorded over 100 inquiries. We can't handle them all."

According to Nishimoto, there's also been a sharp change in his customer base.

"Up to now we dealt mainly with affluent people, like medical doctors, and fans of the science fiction magazine 'MU,'" he chuckled. "But these days we're fielding inquiries from people of all ages and occupations. I've been in the fallout shelter business for going on 55 years now, and this is a first."

Business is also humming at the Oribe Precision Instruments plant in Kobe.

"We began getting flooded with phone calls and mails right after the incident in Syria on April 4," Nobuko Oribe, a company director, told Weekly Playboy's reporter. "And they weren't just inquiries. Some callers were saying, 'I want one from you as soon as possible. Now! Right away!' "

Apparently prospective customers don't seem to be aware that construction of an underground concrete shelter costs in the neighborhood of 25 million yen, with several months required for construction.

With outbreak of war between the U.S. and North Korea possible at any time, does that mean there's no time to take proactive measures?

Not necessarily, remarked the aforementioned Nishimoto. "Many people associate fallout shelters as being an underground chamber, but that's not necessarily the case. By installing an air purifier to keep out radioactive particles or toxic chemicals, a room in a house can suffice. We are also selling Swiss-made air purifiers for 2.8 million yen per unit. And they can be installed in one day. We've already sold eight of them this month -- all at that price."

Oribe Precision Instruments offers even cheaper air filtration. "We recommend our air purifier, which can filter out radioactive particles as well as such toxic gases as sarin, VX and so on," says Oribe. "Even if the electric power is cut, the purifier can be manually operated, as it's equipped with a bellows. Its dimensions are about the same as a large trash bucket, and at 620,000 yen it's pretty affordable. It can be installed in a bedroom, and should a nuclear attack take place, all the family members should huddle together in one room, and run the purifier until the all-clear is sounded.

"This month, we've been selling two or three of them per day on average," Oribe added.

Hmmm, the writer ponders. If you're looking at an outlay of 620,000 yen, that's probably equivalent to splurging your entire summer bonus. But for your family's safety, isn't it worth it?

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But for your family's safety, isn't it worth it?

This whole article is just a sales pitch designed to play on peoples emotions.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A room in a house can suffice.

Has he been in a Japanese house lately? Has he seen the devastation a nuclear weapon can do to concrete let alone wood? Has he seen pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? A one-berdroom condo with one window would be a death trap (albeit a slow by radiation death trap) or obliterated in a second.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's probably more like a couple housewives who have never worked got bored of their Korean kiddie romance show, got a little paranoid over the news, and hit the downtown to buy anything anti nuclear.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And who gets ¥620,000 for just their summer bonus? Is this the average guy we are talking about here?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And who gets ¥620,000 for just their summer bonus? 

Actually that is about normal for long time employees for good companies. Mine is about that

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And who gets ¥620,000 for just their summer bonus? Is this the average guy we are talking about here?

As with so many other articles here about salary and bonuses the only people who "count" are the ever shrinking numbers of salaried workers and government employees. The ever growing numbers of contracted and PT workers don't count in the averages anymore.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, most of Japan has had a lot of practice panicking over nothing, so this should be no problem for people outside of Tohoku. Tokyo's city motto seems to be "when in panic or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout."

Think of all the stuff people could buy "just in case." One of the really big boondoggles in Tohoku after 3.11 was for people to get solar AS A BACKUP to their regular grid, and people who had solar were hit up by battery companies because solar IS NOT ENOUGH. This never ending panic mongering might be great for business, but it is not justified.

It bears repeating that Japan is an extremely safe and stable country. Go talk to your neighbors if you want to feel better about your community. If you are on your own, get enough stuff for a solid week and then ration it and you will be fine no matter what happens. If you feel unlucky, go for two weeks just in case.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Errrrr this speculative North Korean news has made people buy more air purifiers than the reality of the Fukushima fallout? Weird......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Weekly Playboy reports? Sorry if I sound ignorant but how thustworthy is a report in whichever Playboy?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When the balloon goes up, squat down, put your head between your knees and kiss your butt goodbye!

And wonder why you elected pro-US War-loving politicians.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Has anyone seen any Japanese "frantically gearing up" or "snatching up nuclear fallout shelters"?

"in April alone we've sold eight so far." says it all really.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Luckily I still have some '99.9%' filtration masks left over, and I have warned the wife to close the windows if the J Alert goes off.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And who gets ¥620,000 for just their summer bonus? Is this the average guy we are talking about here?

I do. My salary is about average for my age bracket. So, yes, it's average. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

The point is that if you want to buy this kind of thing, you need this kind of money. And if it's more than your summer bonus but you still want it, you'd better start saving. If you believe the hype, then you're going to do it.

Personally, I don't dismiss the possibility, but I'll keep my summer bonus and spend it on my kids instead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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