Japan PM Shinzo Abe promises to handle North Korea threat

(JAPAN, LANKAPUVATH) –Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised strong “counter-measures” against North Korea, after winning a decisive victory in Sunday’s election.
Mr Abe had called an early election for a greater mandate to deal with “crises”, including the growing threat from Pyongyang, which has fired missiles over Japan in recent months.

His ruling coalition has retained a two-thirds majority in parliament.

This paves the way for Mr Abe to amend Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution.

The prime minister has previously called for the existence of the country’s armed forces to be formalised, a controversial move which he says is needed to strengthen Japan’s defence but which critics say is a step towards re-militarisation.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, Mr Abe said his coalition’s win was a “vote of confidence” from the public, and based on that “we would dramatically show counter-measures against the North Korea threat”.

He said he would discuss these measures with US President Donald Trump, who is visiting Japan next month, as well as with other world powers such as Russia and China.

He said they would exert “stronger pressure” on North Korea, adding: “I will make sure the Japanese public is safe, and safeguard our nation.”

Mr Abe saw his popularity plummet in recent months while embroiled in political scandals, but enjoyed a sudden recovery after North Korea fired two missiles over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo says Mr Abe’s pledge of tough diplomacy with North Korea is rhetoric that would play well with the Japanese public, but it is unclear what it means in concrete terms.

Tokyo has no diplomatic or economic relations with North Korea, and has poor relations with Pyongyang’s closest ally China, so the most Mr Abe can do is strengthen Japan’s defences and stick closely to the US, our correspondent adds.

 

(BBC)

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