Pondering the unthinkable….

Last week Japan’s warning sirens were activated in the northern reaches of the country when North Korea launched a missile. Well done. But what if I had been tooling around the northern islands taking pictures and posting on Instagram? Would I have known what to do as the population scrambled? Would a kind local have grabbed me and taken me to a shelter? Is it time to consider the unimaginable for destinations in North Korea’s crosshairs?

In times of high risk for travelers,  it is often the insurers of cruise ships who first ring the alarm.   Followed in tandem or closely thereafter by the U.S. Department of State.  So keep your eye on the paths of cruise ships around the Korean Peninsula (and Japan). We are all watching to see if the U.S. Department of State issues an unprecedented “What to do in case of nuclear attack”, alert or warning. After the Nice attacks in France last year, there was an app that a traveler could use to get alerts and information on what to do.  Nuclear threats don’t have that luxury of time.

Because the nuclear threat has been relegated to the unthinkable category since the end of the Cold War, emergency planners for residents (except in Japan), and travelers are racing for new protocols.

Yes, if the threat stays at this level or accelerates, most travelers will choose other destinations. But the purported range of North Korea’s ICBMs will cover a good part of the Pacific all the way to the U.S. How to deal with the unthinkable? Not by stopping traveling, but I am looking for a few tips on what to do. Is the sign for fallout shelter the same worldwide? Can my bus be made impermeable to radiation?


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