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Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.26 (April 9, 2009)

Tomorrow will mark the 50th anniversary of the wedding of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress. Together with the people of Japan, I extend my heartfelt congratulations.

I am sure that many people watched the television closely to see the wedding parade with a horse-drawn carriage carrying Their Majesties 50 years ago in 1959.

I pray for the longevity of Their Majesties and the prosperity of the Imperial Family.

Prime Minister of Japan
Taro Aso


"Stern response to violation of rules by North Korea"
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Taro AsoProfile Japanese

"A flying object has apparently been launched from North Korea."

At 11:32 a.m. on Sunday, I received this initial report on the launch when I was standing by at the official residence. I immediately gave instructions to confirm the safety and security of Japanese territorial areas and those of aircraft and vessels, to further reinforce information-gathering, and to ensure that swift and timely information is provided to the public.

One minute after the initial report, I quickly headed for the Crisis Management Center located underground at the Prime Minister's Office while monitoring tickers on the television screen displaying information from the government.

New pieces of information came in one after another. At 11:48, tracking of the flying object ended over the Pacific Ocean 2,100 km from Japan. I gave an instruction to take measures thoroughly to confirm the safety of the public, by checking whether there were or were not any objects which fell in Japanese territorial areas.

Fortunately, there was no damage. Nevertheless, North Korea's going ahead with the launch is a serious act of provocation in terms of security. It also violates the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolutions, which demand North Korea to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program. Such an act absolutely cannot be overlooked.

Japan promptly lodged a vehement protest with North Korea and requested the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting.

Discussions are currently underway at the UN Security Council. Japan will strongly call for North Korea to comply with the existing UN Security Council Resolutions and to resume the Six-Party Talks to engage in talks on nuclear development, the abduction issue, and other matters.

It is important that the international community unites to swiftly send a strong message to North Korea. Failure to do so will give North Korea the wrong message.

At the recent summit in London on financial markets and the world economy, I explained Japan's position to President Barack Obama of the United States, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, President Hu Jintao of China, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea, and others, confirming with them that the action of North Korea is a threat to peace and safety. In cooperation and collaboration with the United States, the Republic of Korea, and other countries concerned, I intend to continue to strengthen efforts to ensure the collaboration of the international community as a whole.

Japan's measures against North Korea will partially expire next week. We must continue to strongly convey to North Korea that it has nothing to gain from provocative acts.

I aim to extend the time period for these measures from six months to one year, and we will quickly issue a conclusion giving consideration to discussions at the United Nations.

At the time of the latest launch, the government strove to swiftly provide information in order to defend the people's safety. We will make use of this experience going forward.

Above all, I express my appreciation for the people's calm response.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Taro Aso
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Jun Matsumoto
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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