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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at the Lower House's plenary session following a North Korean nuclear test, at the National Diet in Tokyo on January 6, 2016.

    Japan to Take Measures Against N Korea Rocket Launch Without Hesitation

    © AFP 2019 / YOSHIKAZU TSUNO
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    Japan, in close cooperation with the international community, will not hesitate to take measures against North Korea after Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket, the office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Sunday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – Earlier Sunday, North Korea fired a long-range rocket, defying a UN Security Council resolution banning Pyongyang from launching rockets that may be used as long-range ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads. Japan’s National Security Council held a meeting shortly after the incident. The rocket flew over Japan's Okinawa prefecture.

    "In regards to DPRK, we intend to, closely cooperating with the international community, to take measures without hesitation. The government will take all efforts to ensure the safety of the people," the statement read.

    Earlier this week, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) confirmed it had received North Korea’s notification of plans to launch a satellite between February 8 and 25. Pyongyang later changed the launch dates by one day.

    North Korea's Kwangmyongsong satellite launch has sparked concern in Japan and South Korea, with South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok previously saying that Seoul would consider any of Pyongyang’s satellite launches as a ballistic missile test.

    Tensions over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs escalated after Pyongyang said on January 6 that it had successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test, triggering condemnation from the international community.

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    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Shinzo Abe, Japan
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