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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

People's Daily Online

Japan urges DPRK to refrain from satellite launch, calls plans threat to national security

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:01, February 03, 2016

TOKYO, Feb. 3 -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday strongly urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to refrain from its planned satellite launch, stating that Japan believes the DPRK is planning to test a long-range ballistic missile.

The Japanese leader said that such a launch would be in clear violation of United Nationsresolutions and Japan would continue to work closely with the United Statesto strongly demand that the DPRK refrain from its planned launch.

Abe said that the plans were a provocative act that threatens Japan's national security and along with the U.S. and South Korea, his government would step up pressure on the DPRK to abandon its planned launch.

'Forcibly carrying out the launch would be in clear defiance of UN Security Council resolutions,' Abe said during a parliamentary committee session, adding that the launch would be a 'a grave act of provocation toward Japan's security.'

The Japanese prime minister also said that he will convene a meeting of the National Security Council, forthwith, to discuss the potential launch.

Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also urged the DPRK to refrain from its planned launch of what it has claimed will be a rocket carrying an observation satellite.

'The launch would be in clear defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions,' Kishida said.

'We will work with other countries concerned to call for North Korea to refrain from the launch,' the foreign minister told a press briefing.

Kishida said that Japan has lodged an official protest against the DPRK's planned launch.

The DPRK has said that it plans to launch a rocket carrying an earth observation satellite at some point between Feb. 8 and 25, and has informed the London-based International Maritime Organization of the launch.

Japan and the U.S., however, believe the DPRK could be testing a long-range ballistic missile.

'The reality is that it is a launch of a ballistic missile,' Abe said Tuesday, refuting the DPRK's claims.

The possible test comes on the heels of the DPRK conducting a fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6, which may lead to the UN Security Council slapping fresh sanctions on Pyongyang, although discussions on the matter are still underway, with some stakeholders calling for the resumption of six-party talks, stalled since 2008, which involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russiaand the United States.

The potential launch has rattled the nerves of the defense ministry here, which has unrolled anti-missile interceptors on both land and sea to shoot down any inbound rocket or missile headed towards Japan's territory.

Japan's Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said on Wednesday that the nation's Self-Defense Forces had ramped up surveillance and intelligence gathering related to the possible launch by the DPRK.

'We want to take all possible measures to be ready to deal with any eventuality,' Nakatani told reporters, adding that the his ministry, Japan's forces and relevant agencies, including the U.S., would work continue to work closely together.

Nakatani said that Japan is fully poised for any rocket or missile tests by the DPRK, with Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, surface-to-air missile systems having been deployed at some 34 locations in and around Tokyo.

While not mentioning specifics, he said that Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyers, equipped with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor systems, have also been deployed in the Sea of Japan and surrounding waters.

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