As tensions heat up with North Korea and the potential for a nuclear exchange becomes all the more real, residents of Japan are panic buying everything from nuclear shelters to air purifiers in preparation:
Sales of nuclear shelters and radiation-blocking air purifiers have surged in Japan in recent weeks as North Korea has pressed ahead with missile tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions.
A small company that specializes in building nuclear shelters, generally under people’s houses, has received eight orders in April alone compared with six orders during a typical year.
The company, Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, based in Kobe, western Japan, also has sold out of 50 Swiss-made air purifiers, which are said to keep out radiation and poisonous gas, and is trying to get more, said Nobuko Oribe, the company’s director
Concerns about a possible gas attack have grown in Japan after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliament session this month that North Korea may have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.
‘It takes time and money to build a shelter. But all we hear these days, in this tense atmosphere, is that they want one now,’ Oribe said. ‘They ask us to come right away and give them an estimate.’
Source: The Daily Mail
As we’ve learned from previous experience, once the possibility of an actual emergency or disaster has been realized or comes to pass, it is often too late for those who failed to foresee the threat and act on it in advance.
Following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, for example, Americans concerned with the spread of radiation along the West coast were advised by the Department of Homeland Security that they could take potassium iodide supplements to reduce absorption of radioactive material. Within 24 hours just about all available stock was sold out across the world and secondary markets popped up across the internet with anti-radiation pills, normally available for about $15, selling for upwards of $200, an increase of over 1000%.
The government took notice of the shortages and stockpiled approximately 14 million doses in 2014.
But as you may have guessed, though federal and state governments have positioned emergency reserves in anticipation of any number of possible disasters, the chance that average citizens will have access to much needed crisis supplies when they need them most is almost non-existent. This was evidenced by the total lack of assistance in the initial days following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, as well as the lackluster response by government following Hurricane Sandy.
Keeping in mind that these were disasters isolated to a single city or small region, and that we had advance warning of the Hurricanes, according to the Department of Homeland Security it will be impossible for emergency services personnel to respond to any large-scale threat that affects multiple regions simultaneously.
The point, as we have previously warned, is that if you are going to attempt to prepare even one second after a disaster strikes, it will already be too late. The time to prepare your emergency reserves is now, before the panic buying begins.