Abe calls for cranking up political pressure on North Korea


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday called for ratcheting up international pressure on North Korea in light of escalating provocations by Pyongyang, which include threats of military action.

“The most important thing is to strengthen pressure and economic sanctions on North Korea and get it to rethink its policy,” Abe said while appearing on a Nippon Television Network Corp. program, ruling out dialogue with North Korea for the time being.

Regarding Japan’s state of alert over a possible missile launch by North Korea, Abe said, “There is a need to carefully watch” if North Korea is merely resorting to verbal threats or is actually going to proceed with the launch.

Abe, meanwhile, disputed the notion that North Korea may have succeeded in fixing a nuclear warhead to a medium-range missile by now.

“At the current stage, North Korea does not have a nuclear weapon that can be put on a missile. It has not succeeded in the miniaturization to that extent,” Abe said. “But it has chemical weapons” that could be “a threat to Japan.”

“North Korea’s threat is increasing as time goes by,” Abe said, adding that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was agitating toward a “higher level” of crisis than his predecessors.

Kim is “extremely young and lacks experience so he is dangerous,” Abe said.

On economic matters, Abe said the results of his economic policies, dubbed “Abenomics,” could “gradually emerge from this summer and onward” through a rise in salaries and other developments.

“When the economy is led by a monetary policy, its results are reflected in salaries only one or two years later, but to quicken the pace, the government will boost the flow of money through its bold fiscal policy,” Abe said.