North Korea’s latest ICBM test demonstrated once again that all of Japan is within striking range of the Kim Jong Un’s missiles, as it has been for a long time.
But it appears the North’s intensifying campaign of missile tests, which have increased dramatically in frequency since the beginning of the year, has convinced many wealthy Japanese that a nuclear confrontation could be imminent.
At least that’s what a surge in sales at one US-based builder of custom bunkers seems to suggest. The company, Atlas Survival Shelters, says the escalating tensions between President Donald Trump and North Korea have sparked a boom in sales, but not in the markets one might expect, according to Bloomberg.
“Business has never been better at Atlas Survival Shelters, which ships bunkers to customers around the world from its U.S. factories. Among the best sellers: the BombNado, with a starting price of $18,999.
The popularity of the company’s doomsday fortifications is no surprise, considering the state of the world in general and, specifically, Kim Jong-Un’s pursuit of a missile that can hit the continental U.S. Curiously, though, the most furious surge of interest isn’t in America but Japan, a country that’s long been within North Korea’s striking distance.
“Japan’s going hog wild right now,” said Ron Hubbard, owner of Atlas Survival. The Montebello, California-based company makes about a dozen different underground refuge models intended to be inhabitable for six months to a year, some outfitted with escape tunnels, decontamination rooms and bulletproof hatches.
While the Japanese have viewed North Korea as a menace for decades, the rogue regime’s July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile raised the level of alarm among preppers, as some people serious about emergency preparedness call themselves. Japan has its own small bunker-making sector, but the U.S., unique in its abundance of survivalist networks, is ground zero for get-ready-for-Armageddon businesses.”
Atlas isn’t the only one: Emergency shelter sales have soared since the beginning of the summer. One company, Rising S Co. of Murchison, Texas, said sales of its steel-clad products have doubled in the past three weeks, with Japanese buyers accounting for 80 percent of this demand.
“The company website lays out the many options — a decontamination area, a fitness center, a swimming pool, a gun range, a game room with pool tables, a garage for your Porsche. The Aristocrat, big enough to sleep more than 50 and delivered with a bowling alley, is listed at $8.35 million.
North Korea is behind the fresh interest, [General Manager Gary] Lynch said. ‘It’s really not a new threat, it’s just something the media and people are paying attention to.’”
Given that recent improvements in North Korea’s missile capabilities have potentially put several coastal US cities within striking distance, it’s surprising that US citizens with the means to afford it aren’t scrambling to buy shelters.
One reason for the discrepancy highlighted by Bloomberg is the tone of government rhetoric surrounding North Korea. President Donald Trump has never publicly spoken about precautions that Americans should take in the event of a strike (though this could change once the reality sinks in that NK could very well land a ballistic missile in US territory. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government takes the possibility of a strike very seriously.
“The government of Shinzo Abe takes it all seriously, regularly updating its civil-protection website with tips (stay inside, keep away from windows) and airing public-interest ads on TV about what to do in event a ballistic missile is en route and the country’s early warning system successfully sounds the alert. Children are given instructions at school — basically, get under your desks.”
The announcements have bred what one resident describes as a “culture of fear.”
“’People are genuinely afraid,’ said Seiichiro Nishimoto, president of Shelter Co., an Osaka-based installer of air-conditioned nuclear shelters imported from Israel. ‘That’s why we’re getting so many calls.’”
In recent years, the market for emergency shelters has evolved to include an ultra-high-end segment that would allow buyers to comfortably ride out the apocalypse – or at least create the illusion that doing so would be possible.
Robert Vicino, founder and chief executive officer of Vivos, in Del Mar, California, described features of one of his company’s luxury shelters, which is equipped with nuclear-biological-chemical air-filtration systems, space to store enough food and toilet paper for a year, a diesel generator and an emergency exit shaft. It also has the ability to take a 500,000-pound blast without crumpling.
Vivos also sells individual and communal apocalypse “retreats” with amenities like movie theaters and “members only” restaurants and bars, which begs the question: where will they source their employees?
“Vivos (“alive” in Spanish) sells models for individual and communal use, and has built subterranean survival communities in the U.S. and Europe. The latest is xPoint, on 9,000 acres in South Dakota, with 575 off-grid dugouts and planned amenities including a community theater, hydr oponic gardens, shooting ranges and a members-only restaurant and bar. The upfront cost to lease one is $25,000. Vicino, the CEO, said about 50 have been leased or reserved so far.”
The end times is big business.