Jiji PressWASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — Up to 2.1 million people in Tokyo and Seoul would die if North Korea attacked the two Asian cities with nuclear bombs in response to potential military action by the United States, a U.S. institute has said in an estimate.
In the event of such an “unthinkable” disaster, a maximum of 7.7 million people would be injured, according to the estimate by the U.S.-Korea Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, released on Wednesday.
The estimate assumed that North Korea has 25 operational nuclear weapons with explosive yields of between 15 kilotons and 25 kilotons of TNT, and that the reclusive communist state decides to launch all of them at Tokyo and Seoul when attacked by the United States.
The institute introduced three levels of probability of detonation — 20 percent, 50 percent and 80 percent — taking into account the operational reliability of North Korea’s missile launches and antimissile measures by Japan and South Korea.
Based on these conditions, the institute estimated that some 200,000 to 947,000 people in Tokyo and some 222,000 to 1.16 million people in Seoul would die in an attack of 25 nuclear bombs from the North.
The number of nuclear bombs North Korea possesses and the explosive yields of such weapons are based on expert analysis.
According to an estimate by the Japanese government, North Korea’s nuclear test on Sept. 3 generated an explosive yield of 160 kilotons, more than 10 times greater than the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945.
If North Korea put this scale of nuclear bomb into use and fired it at Tokyo, with all other conditions unchanged, the institute estimates that up to some 1.63 million people in the Japanese capital would die.