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Prime Minister Taro Aso gave signs Thursday that the government is urging the U.S. to put North Korea back on its blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism in light of Monday’s nuclear test by Pyongyang.

Responding to a lawmaker’s request that Japan pressure the U.S. to return North Korea to the list, Aso said, “Things are moving in line with what you hope for, although I cannot tell you what I talked about (with President Barack Obama) on the phone.”

The remarks were exchanged between Aso and Ichita Yamamoto of the Liberal Democratic Party at a morning session of the House of Councilors Budget Committee.

On Wednesday evening, Aso told reporters, “I assume that the second nuclear test may have been a greater shock to the U.S. than we could imagine,” and expressed hope that Washington will take a resolute stance against Pyongyang.

In telephone talks on Tuesday, Aso and Obama agreed that the U.N. Security Council must swiftly adopt a new resolution to impose “additional sanctions” on North Korea over the nuclear test, according to government sources.

‘Question deterrence’

Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans has called on Japan to reconsider its dependence on the deterrent force of U.S. nuclear weapons against nonnuclear threats.

At a news conference Wednesday in Tokyo, Evans challenged Japan to reflect on whether it is really necessary to seek shelter from conventional arms, such as biological and chemical weapons, under the nuclear umbrella of the United States.

“Can you really be serious about nuclear disarmament while at the same time thinking nuclear weapons should be available not just to deal with other nuclear weapons’ threat from other countries?” he asked.

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