Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Japan preparing for unexpected after Kim’s death


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TOKYO: Japan scurried to prepare for the unexpected on Monday after news that Kim Jong-il, the leader of its unpredictable neighbour North Korea, had died of a heart attack.

“I’ve issued three orders, which are to strengthen our intelligence gathering capability, to cooperate with officials from the United States, South Korea and China, and to be prepared for the unexpected,” Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters.

“We cannot allow Kim’s death to harm peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”

Ministers at a security meeting earlier on Monday reached no conclusion on whether to raise the level of alert for Japan’s military.

Still, the government faces a tense end to the year as Noda prepares to visit China and complete important policies for the domestic economy, which include the budget for the fiscal year from next April and tax increases to cover welfare spending.

“I ordered each division within the ministry to do their utmost in information gathering and in staying vigilant and watchful,” a Defence Ministry spokesman quoted Defence Minister Yasuo Ichikawa as saying. (Reuters)


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