Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday, April 17 that Japan’s government is drawing up contingency plans in case a crisis on the Korean Peninsula sends an influx of refugees to Japan, The Associated Press reports.
Abe told a parliamentary session that the government is formulating measures including protecting foreigners, landing procedures, building and operating shelters, and screening asylum seekers.
Abe’s disclosure came in response to a question that had been occasionally asked in the past but is now more realistic than ever with North Korea’s missile capability rapidly advancing and tension with the U.S. rising.
The government has been also working on evacuation plans for about 60,000 Japanese from South Korea in case of a crisis.
Abe is set to discuss North Korea on Tuesday with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence will be flying to Tokyo from South Korea, where he declared “the era of strategic patience (with North Korea) is over,” reiterating President Donald Trump administration’s shift toward applying more pressure on Pyongyang. Abe praised the policy, noting a recent bilateral statement confirming the U.S. commitment to defending Japan with the use of both nuclear and conventional arms as extended deterrence.