Japanese Government Responds to North Korean Nuclear Test

North Korea celebrates its third nuclear test. The banner reads: "Warm Congratulations on the Success of the Third Subterranean Nuclear Test".

North Korea celebrates its third nuclear test. The banner reads: “Warm Congratulations on the Success of the Third Subterranean Nuclear Test”.

On the the 12th of February, North Korea carried out another nuclear test in defiance of U.N. resolutions. In Japan, which would be one of the countries in the direct line of fire, the news was especially shocking.

So here are some reactions: first, the government’s reaction described by Reuters, then extracts from the heated debate from Twitter.

From Reuters:

Possibility Of North Korean Nuclear Weapons Test, Prime Minister Abe Says: “We Will Respond By Any Means”

[Tokyo, 12th, Reuters] The government concluded that the earthquake with an epicenter in North Korea observed just before noon on the 12th almost certainly occurred after a nuclear weapons test. An emergency response committee was established in the Prime Minister’s Official Residence to deal with information on the nuclear test by North Korea, and the government is working to establish all the facts as quickly as possible.

From 12:45 am onwards, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe took part in the Security Council of Japan’s intelligence gathering and analysis, instructing the council to respond using any means available to resolve the many pending issues, including specific sanctions.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the earthquake occurred on the morning of February 12 at 11:57:50. The epicentre was located at latitude 41.2, longitude 129.3, with a depth of 0 kilometres, and a magnitude of 5.2.

In an interview on the afternoon of February 12, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide said: “We observed a seismic wave which was probably not caused by a natural earthquake. Based on what we’ve observed in the past, we think it is probable that it was caused by North Korean testing of nuclear weapons”.

On receiving the earthquake report, the government urgently summoned the heads of all ministries affected by the events and reorganized the Information Communication Committee in charge of contacts with North Korea into an emergency response committee to deal with the North Korean nuclear weapons test. Furthermore, a Security Council of Japan meeting was opened at 12:45am to discuss the government’s response.

The location of the most recent test. [Source:BBC

The location of the most recent test. [Source:BBC]

Prime Minister Abe instructed the Security Council to 1) pledge to thoroughly gather and analyse information on trends in North Korea, 2) attempt to reinforce monitoring and cooperation with other countries to verify whether there were radioactive traces of radioactive material following the nuclear tests, 3) respond, with the aid of the international community, using any means available to resolve the many pending issues including specific sanctions against North Korea, and 4) pledge to assure the safety and peace of mind of Japanese citizens by being prepared for any unexpected events.

A United Nations Security Council anonymous diplomatic source stated that “we received a report from Korea (through the United States) that there was indeed a nuclear test”. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the South Korean government had received notice that it was highly probable that a nuclear test had been carried out by North Korea on February 12, and that as the nation which chairs United Nations Security Council meetings in February, South Korea summoned an emergency Security Council meeting at 12:40 GMT (11 pm Japan time).

Quoting a South Korean authority, Yonhap News also reported that North Korea had announced its plans to carry out nuclear testing to the Chinese and American governments on February 11. In an interview a little after 1:30pm on February 12, Chief Cabinet Minister Suga also clearly stated that they had received a report from the United States on February 11, saying that North Korea would conduct another nuclear test before long.

Along with the United States and South Korea, Chief Cabinet Minister Suga has not yet officially confirmed that there was a nuclear bomb test, but he has indicated that official confirmation will not take more than a few days.

Comments from Twitter:


Yea, I think the US will send some aerial bombs soon. RT @ryoko174: even though you said on one hand “I’m against nuclear energy as well as nuclear bomb tests”, what about [when you said] “nuclear weapons are not as dangerous as nuclear energy” “radioactivity does not escape form underground nuclear bomb tests”….

山田のぶゆき ‏さん:

I shudder at the thought! The number of “living-room right-wingers” who ignore the general state of the world and are only afraid of North Korea’s nuclear capacity won’t stop growing, and the hawkish public opinion of #Prime Minister Abe and his wingman Ishihara is growing strength.

愛国ゆい ‏さん:

May cannibalism break out in the hell of hunger which is North Korea! 「 #Parents boil their kids in a pot  」

北斗七星 ‏さん:

The North Korea nuclear bomb test definitely caused way too much of an uproar when there was not even any concrete evidence behind the information.

雪之丞 ‏さん:

Does information on North Korea affect TV rating? In the newspaper and on TV, the news about the North Korea bomb test is all the same. It’s probably natural to blame them on because they broke U.N. ordinances, but a simple test is not a reason to suddenly start a war.

ta.ta. さん:

I’m thinking I might keep my daughter home from nursery school tomorrow.

じゅーだす ‏さん:

Let’s urgently kill the anti-Japan left-wingers hiding under the cover of #anti-nuclear and erase all traces of them before the enthusiasm from the #North Korea nuclear bomb test cools down.

だいすけギア ‏さん:

It’s like Secretary-General of the LDP Ishiba said. North Korea should be designated what America calls a “state that sponsors terrorism” again.

音猫 ‏さん:

Did they scramble together fighter jets from Ibaraki Air Base when they measured radiation in the air?


The leaders’ course of action is important. Things like placing armament before addressing their own citizens’ food issues. But you meet the same type of people who rashly act any which way in all countries though…

八卦仙人@越南国亀仙人 ‏さん:

I think it’s nice somehow though that a small weak nation tries so hard and goes without food so that they can develop their nuclear technology. The fact that they are trying to strongly resist American Imperialism and other big powers is almost like looking at the Japan of old.

もぺ ‏さん:

Putting the tatemae [façade] aside, in the modern day where anti-communism is no longer necessary, I wonder why America and the international community are playing with fire like this [lit. ‘treading on the tiger’s tail’; tora no o wo fumu], when they don’t really care how many North Korean are killed by other North Koreans through bad government, so long as they don’t come out of the northern part of the peninsula which has no resources and is isolated from the international community.

もぺ ‏さん:

When North Korea is able to make nuclear warhead missiles, they’ll be able to bomb the United States = when they become able to start a war, it will be horrible for Japan which will become a war zone

もぺ ‏さん:

The reliability of the Chinese Communist party which can’t control it’s private army or it’s satellite states is really bad

田畑益弘 ‏さん:

The North was just carrying out a standard test, but by carrying it out despite ignoring General Secretary Xi Jinpin’s requests, they laid bare how powerless China actually is. We unquestionably can’t allow military dictatorships with no self-imposed limits which “can’t manage nuclear”.

たけしまーけっと(伊瀬) ‏さん:

We’ve had enough, I think Japan should just join with other countries and assail North Korea from all four sides.

ホッケー少年 さん:

Isn’t now more than ever the time for Anti-Nuclear groups to get to work?

田畑益弘 ‏さん:

Who far does the North feel like recklessly? Until they go down the path of destruction.

へから夫人 ‏さん:

What are the government’s opinions on whether it is safe to let our kids out or not???? This is what I wanna know….

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