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Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.32 (May 28, 2009)

"A grave challenge to the international community"
-- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Taro AsoProfile Japanese

On Monday morning this week, North Korea announced that it had conducted a nuclear test. This is North Korea's second such test, following the one in October 2006.

A nuclear test by North Korea is totally unacceptable, as it constitutes a grave threat to Japan's security as well as seriously undermines the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and the world. Thus Japan lodges a serious protest against North Korea, and strongly condemns its nuclear test.

In April too, North Korea has violated a United Nations Security Council resolution which demanded that the country "not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile," when it went ahead with the launch of a missile. These are repeated, clear violations of the Security Council resolution, representing a grave challenge to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. They also contravene the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration and Joint Declaration of the Six-Party Talks.

I immediately set up a task force in the Prime Minister's Office. While working to gather information, I instructed the Foreign Minister to quickly call for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to be convened.

The international community must stand united and resolute, and send a strong message against the outrageous actions of North Korea. Soon after the announcement, I held telephone talks with President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea (ROK), and President Barack Obama of the United States, in which we agreed that Japan, the United States, and the ROK would respond in close collaboration.

At an urgent meeting of the Security Council convened upon Japan's request in the early morning of Tuesday, Japanese time, the action of North Korea was confirmed as being in violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions. The Security Council has started considering the kinds of measures and responses it will take against North Korea.

Around the world, momentum is growing toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Only recently in April did President Obama deliver a historic speech in Prague, the Czech Republic, declaring that the United States would seek to eliminate all nuclear weapons.

It is truly regrettable that North Korea, despite such moves around the world, ignored the calls from the international community and conducted a second nuclear test.

We must send a strong message to North Korea which shows that its actions are wrong and that the only way forward is to walk together with the international community. To this end, I am prepared to lead the way in pursuing diplomacy.

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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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