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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

People's Daily Online

Japan's PM calls DPRK nuke test "intolerable," will lodge protest with Pyongyang

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 15:05, September 09, 2016

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abesaid Friday that Japan had confirmed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) had conducted a nuclear test earlier in the day and described the latest move following a series of ballistic missile launches and fourth nuclear test in January as "intolerable."

Abe said that Tokyo would lodge an official protest to the nuclear test with Pyongyang and that further sanctions were being mulled.

"After taking into account various pieces of information in a comprehensive manner, the government has deemed that North Korea conducted a nuclear test," the Japanese prime minister said.

While condemning the test in the "strongest terms," Abe added in a statement, "We simply cannot tolerate the fact that North Korea forced through a nuclear test."

The Japanese leader went on to say that the DPRK's continued development significantly undermines peace and safety in the region.

Abe said earlier that Japan would liaise closely on the matter with the United Statesand South Koreaas the situation unfolds and stated that he had instructed all relevant officials in his office and applicable ministries to gather more information about the latest nuclear test.

Japan has already started to arrange for a session of the UN Security Council, as a non-permanent member and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Japan is mulling further unilateral sanctions against the DPRK.

The latest statements from senior government officials here were made following Japan's Meteorological Agency(JMA) in the morning detecting an artificial earthquake centered in the DPRK close to a previous test site, which it believed may have been a nuclear test.

The weather agency here said the depth of the artificial earthquake was at 0 kilometers, which is consistent with previous nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK.

In a hastily convened press conference thereafter, Suga, Japan's top government spokesperson, said that the government had been rapidly gathering more information about the possible nuclear test by the DPRK.

"Given similar cases in the past, we think an earthquake detected in the morning may have been a nuclear test by North Korea," Suga said, adding that Japan will cooperate with relevant countries to gather and analyze more information about the possible testing of a nuclear device by the DPRK.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also said that Japan would convene an emergency meeting of its National Security Council (NSC) to discuss issues relevant to the incident and the Defense Ministry said that one of its planes had been deployed to collect airborne samples of possibly radioactive materials released as a result of the test.

The DPRK has recently voiced its opposition to joint military drills conducted by the United States and South Korea in the region, which concluded last Friday, with the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise comprising some 25,000 U.S. troops.

The DPRK also stands opposed to the U.S. and South Korea deciding to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to South Korea to counter perceived threats.

The spate of recent missile launches, government officials here have said, have also been a show of defiance against UN Security Council resolutions slapped on the DPRK for its ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile technology programs, which are banned under the council's resolutions.

On Monday this week, the DPRK launched three missiles into the Sea of Japan with Defense Minister Tomomi Inada stating that DPRK's capabilities are "definitely improving" as all three missiles were fired simultaneously and landed in the same area in the sea.

Her remarks on the improving capabilities follow the Aug. 24 launch by the DPRK of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The DPRK conducted a fourth nuclear test in January this year. Friday's test, however, is believed to be of its most powerful device yet, sources close to the matter here said.

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