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Japan does not plan to create its own nuclear weapons following North Korea's tests
Japan does not plan to create its own nuclear weapons following North Korea's tests, the country's new prime minister said Tuesday. Japan, the only country to have been subjected to nuclear strikes, has strongly advocated non-proliferation and arms control since WWII. The country ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1976. Following Pyongyang's widely-condemned announcement of nuclear tests, Japan's nationalist premier Shinzo Abe Tuesday said at an extraordinary session of parliament's lower house: "We have no intention of changing our policy forbidding the possession of nuclear weapons. There will be no change in our non-nuclear principles." The reclusive communist state announced Monday that it had successfully detonated a nuclear device underground, in defiance of a UN Security Council statement urging it to give up nuclear test plans and return to disarmament talks, and earlier international warnings. Reports on the power of the explosion varied - the Russian Defense Ministry put the figure at 5-15 kilotons of TNT equivalent, while initial U.S. estimates were substantially lower. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, the secretary general of Japan's Cabinet, said the country was holding consultations with the UN Security Council, and that introduction of 'sanctions of a military nature' against North Korea were being considered. Finance Minister Koji Omi said additional economic sanctions against the country could be introduced. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said his country was planning to impose unilateral sanctions against the Pyongyang regime, but would not impose them without 100% confirmation that the conducted tests created a nuclear explosion. North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States have been engaged in talks on the nuclear issue since 2003, discussing aid and security guarantees for the secretive regime in exchange for a renunciation of its nuclear program. However, talks stalled last November over Pyongyang's demands that the U.S. lift sanctions imposed on it for its alleged involvement in counterfeiting and other illegal activities.
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