• Kyodo


Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe on Saturday harshly attacked Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura for saying that he hopes North Korea will quickly launch the rocket it is preparing.

“It is Japan that will be placed in a dangerous situation if North Korea launches the rocket,” Abe said in a campaign speech in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. “This chief Cabinet secretary cannot protect Japan. We aim at regaining power” through the Dec. 16 general election.

Fujimura told reporters Friday during campaigning for the election that he hopes Pyongyang will fire the rocket Monday, the first day North Korea has said the launch might be held. North Korea has given a launch window of Monday through Dec. 22.

Fujimura said later he wanted to correct the comment “if a lack of explanation gives a false impression.”

The government is “putting pressure on North Korea to give up the launch and we’ll take every possible measure” to that end, Fujimura said.

Abe called on Fujimura to immediately step down.

“Other nations have told North Korea not to launch (the rocket), but the Japanese chief Cabinet secretary is asking it to do so quickly,” Abe said on the stump Friday in Tokushima Prefecture.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said in a campaign speech in the city of Toyama that poverty expanded when the LDP was in power.

“We will promote policies to boost employment,” said Noda, who is also president of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which took power in 2009.

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