A retailer of nuclear fallout shelters in Japan said Monday that sales soared in the lead-up to North Korea’s rocket launch as jittery residents took their safety into their own hands.
Osaka-based Shelter Co said it received 12 orders in just two months ahead of Sunday’s launch — more than double the number it usually sells in an entire year.
Pyongyang said the rocket it launched over Japan on Sunday carried a satellite into orbit, but Washington, Tokyo and Seoul believe the launch was a cover for a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Most orders for the Swiss-made 2.8 million yen (28,000 dollar) “household nuclear shelters” came from northwestern Akita and Iwate prefectures, located under the rocket’s path, said company president Seiichiro Nishimoto.
“This is a record in the 30 years I’ve been in this business,” he told AFP, adding that he had also received about 150 enquiries.
“Japanese want to be prepared. I expect the number of orders to increase.”
Other retailers said they saw no dramatic rise in orders.
“Japanese people are not that worried about North Korea. They are watching the situation calmly,” said Nobuko Oribe, an executive of Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, a fallout shelter manufacturer based in Kobe city.
Japan, despite being the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, has very few nuclear shelters.