As the Kim v Trump war of words escalates, towns across Japan are preparing for what, until recently, felt like a faraway nuisance

As sirens pierce the air in Sakata, a town on Japan’s north-west coast, primary school children rush from the playground to the safety of the gymnasium. Other residents crouch behind walls or lie down in rice fields, while the public address system urges them to take cover.

More accustomed to the dangers of earthquakes and tsunami, Japan’s people are now having to address a new, manmade threat: North Korean missiles.

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