Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Tsushima Eyed as Evacuation Site in Korea Contingency

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Tsushima Eyed as Evacuation Site in Korea Contingency

Article excerpt

The government is considering temporarily evacuating Japanese and U.S. nationals and others in South Korea to Tsushima island in Nagasaki Prefecture via Busan Port, if airports in South Korea are closed due to a contingency on the Korean Peninsula, according to government sources.

After temporarily evacuating people to the island with the help of vessels of the Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. forces, the government plans to then shuttle them to Kyushu, the sources said.

The South Korean government has not agreed to the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to its country, but a plan has surfaced to bring an MSDF ship alongside a U.S. military vessel docked at Busan Port and board Japanese nationals and others onto the MSDF ship.

In the case of a contingency on the Korean Peninsula, top priority will be given to people's evacuation to Japan, according to multiple sources close to the Japanese government. In that case, the government plans to have the evacuees stay on the island, the Japanese territory located closest to Busan, for one or two nights.

As U.S. civilians residing in South Korea are also supposed to evacuate to Japan, the government intends to transport them on ships of the U.S. forces and the MSDF from Busan Port to Tsushima, and then take them by ship to Moji Port in Fukuoka Prefecture and other places in Kyushu.

Some Japanese government officials have already secretly conducted an inspection tour of the island, and the government has begun to examine the capacity of accommodations such as hotels on the island, and the necessary amounts of water and food. If attacks from North Korea become imminent, the government will begin consultations with relevant municipalities, according to the sources.

The largest worry in the evacuation plan is that Japan has failed to obtain an agreement from South Korea for the dispatch of the SDF, due to deep-rooted opposition to the SDF within the country.

According to a source close to the Japanese and South Korean governments, negotiations with South Korea are at a standstill because the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae In is extremely reluctant to talk about issues associated with a contingency on the Korean Peninsula, in order to make the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February a success. …

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