N. Korea Seems Ready for Nuclear Test: Japan Defense Chief


Tokyo, Oct. 13 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Thursday that there is a possibility of North Korea having made preparations needed for conducting a nuclear test.

Japan will work with South Korea and the United States to enhance vigilance and surveillance activities, he said at a meeting of the House of Councillors' Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense, held in response to a recent string of ballistic missile launches by Pyongyang.

Earlier in the day, Hamada attended a joint meeting of the House of Representatives committees on security, foreign affairs and the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals decades ago.

Responding to a question from Koichiro Genba of the leading opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan about the current status of North Korea's nuclear and missile development, Hamada said that North Korea is seen to have succeeded in the development of smaller nuclear warheads that can be mounted on ballistic missiles capable of reaching Japan.

Genba also asked Hamada about the difference between the exercise of counterstrike capabilities, which the Japanese government is considering acquiring, and preemptive strikes, which some say could violate the Japanese Constitution and international law.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press