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Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit: Reports

The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met last week in Singapore, with the pair signing a joint document calling for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula

world Updated: Jun 21, 2018 20:13 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Tokyo
Japan,missile drills,Trump-Kim summit
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump (R) after taking part in a signing ceremony at the end of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.(AFP )

Japan has halted evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack in the wake of historic talks between Washington and Pyongyang, local media reported Thursday.

Government officials did not immediately confirm the reports, but authorities in one town told AFP they were suspending a drill planned for next week on orders from Tokyo.

The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met last week in Singapore, with the pair signing a joint document calling for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Yaita in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo had been planning an evacuation drill for next week involving some 800 residents including 350 school children, city official Yutaka Yanagida told AFP.

But the city suddenly cancelled all preparations late Wednesday after being instructed by the government that “drills should be postponed for the time being following a change in the environment after the US-North Korea summit,” he said.

Contacted by AFP, a Cabinet Office official said the government would announce its policy on evacuation drills on Friday, declining to comment further.

Last year, Pyongyang fired two missiles over Japan and it has splashed others into the sea near the country, sparking a mix of panic and outrage.

Earlier this year, hundreds of Tokyo residents scrambled for cover in the Japanese capital’s first evacuation drill for a military attack by Pyongyang.

North Korea has singled out Japan, a key US ally in the region, for verbal attacks, threatening to “sink” the country into the sea and to turn it into “ashes”.

But the regional mood has turned towards diplomacy since the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea, which set off a series of diplomatic moves culminating in the Trump-Kim meet.

First Published: Jun 21, 2018 12:16 IST