Japan must watch out for possible terror attacks by North Korea in response to Tokyo's sanctions after the North's claimed nuclear test, Japanese police warned yesterday as government leaders said they were considering further sanctions.
"There are concerns that North Korea may launch a large scale terrorist attacks or sly and heinous activities in retaliation to [Japan's] additional sanctions," Deputy Director General Hiroto Yoshimura of the National Police Agency said.
Yoshimura was addressing the first meeting of a security task force that he heads following North Korea's alleged nuclear test on Oct. 9, public broadcaster NHK said.
Yoshimura told task force members to step up security and intelligence activities to avoid any possible retaliation by North Korea.
Japan on Friday closed ports to North Korean ships, banned trade with the North and is currently considering further sanctions in line with the resolution made by the UN Security Council [UNSC].
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said the government was studying what else could be added to Japan's list of sanctions already place and would rapidly put the additional measures in place.
"For sections under the UNSC resolution that have not been carried out by Japan, we hope to consider them promptly and then decide on our future actions in line with the UN sanctions committee," Shiozaki said. "It is our natural obligation to fully implement the UNSC resolution."
Separately, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan would consider additional measures by "taking into consideration actions by international society."
Japanese officials have also been discussing whether Tokyo would be able to assist US forces in boarding North Korean ships for searches sanctioned under the UNSC resolution.
Defense Agency chief Fumio Kyuma said yesterday that the government would closely study the situation in areas around Japan to determine its course of action.
"The situation changes minute by minute. The government will need to finalize its decision based on parliamentary debate as the situation continues to develop," Kyuma told a committee in parliament.
Meanwhile, in response to comments by Shoichi Nakagawa -- chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's policy research council -- that Japan should debate posessing nuclear weapons, Shiozaki denied that possessing the weapons was being considered an option.
"We will maintain our three non-nuclear principles. There is no change whatsoever to our government's position that Japan will not possess any nuclear weapons," Shiozaki said.
Nakagawa reportedly made his comments on a Sunday morning talk show.
Japan's pacifist Constitution bars the use of force to settle international disputes and Japan has maintained a policy of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons into the country.