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Japan ‘on high alert’ after North Korea missile launch

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday his country is on high alert following North Korea’s ballistic missile launch on Sunday, which is believed to have ended in failure.

“Under the current stringent circumstances, we will maintain a high level of alert and take all possible measures,” Abe said at a House of Representatives committee meeting.

“Through close cooperation with the United States, South Korea, China and Russia, Japan will strongly demand North Korea refrain from provocative acts and abandon its nuclear and missile programs,” Abe said.

While noting that it is important to maintain peace through diplomatic efforts, Abe said holding a dialogue for dialogue’s sake would be meaningless.

“It would be necessary to put pressure so that North Korea will sincerely respond to calls for dialogue,” Abe said.

Abe also suggested that during his visit to Russia scheduled for later this month, he plans to urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to play a constructive role in efforts to resolve North Korean issues.

Regarding ways to protect Japanese nationals in South Korea in times of emergency on the Korean Peninsula, Abe said Japan has been making necessary preparations and studies based on various assumptions.

“We will make sure Japanese nationals are safe in any situation,” he added.

Abe also said Japan is bracing for inflows of refugees, assuming a series of responses, including entrance formalities, the establishment and operation of shelters and procedures for granting refugee status.

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