Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Japan urges N. Korea to exercise restraint from rocket launch

TOKYO (Kyodo) Japan's top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura urged North Korea on Wednesday to refrain from going ahead with its plan to launch a satellite in mid-April using a rocket, a move that has sparked international outcry.

''Together with countries concerned, it is important that we urge North Korea to exercise restraint from engaging in an action that will undermine peace and stability,'' the chief Cabinet secretary said in a news conference, referring to the launch that critics say is a disguised test of a long-range ballistic missile.

Fujimura vowed to take ''all possible measures to ensure that the people and properties (in Japan) are safe.''

North Korea announced on Friday that an ''application satellite'' will be blasted off sometime between April 12 and 16 lifted by a carrier rocket to mark the centennial of the birthday of the country's founder, the late Kim Il Sung, which falls on April 15. Despite widespread criticism, the North has said it will go ahead with the launch.

To brace for an emergency, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka told reporters that a ''decision'' needs to be made to give an order to Self-Defense Forces to destroy North Korea's rocket.

The defense minister said during a parliament session on Monday that he is considering giving such an order if the rocket poses a danger to Japan. Read More