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(LEAD) Japan responds quickly to N.K.'s suspected nuke test

All News 11:56 September 09, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS Japanese prime minister's remarks in para 4-5)

TOKYO, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- Japan responded quickly to the suspected nuclear test carried out by North Korea earlier in the day Friday by convening a national security meeting to discuss countermeasures.

A magnitude 5 earthquake was detected near North Korea's nuclear test site in its northeastern region at around 9:30 a.m., raising suspicions that Pyongyang may have conducted its fifth nuclear test.

If confirmed, this would be the latest nuclear provocation since January when it carried out its fourth nuclear test detonation, which drew strong condemnation from the international community and the toughest resolution ever by the United Nations Security Council in March.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that there is a possibility of the North having carried out a nuclear test, adding that Tokyo will collect relevant information, while keeping close contact with the United States and South Korea on the matter going forward.

Abe said that North Korea's additional nuclear test can never be tolerated and that if it turns out to be true, Japan cannot help but express strong protest.

Fumio Kishida, the country's foreign minister, also told reporters that he has set up and is running an emergency team dedicated to monitoring the current situation.

He noted that a nuclear test by the North would violate UNSC resolutions and agreements reached through the long-stalled six-party denuclearization talks involving the two Koreas, Japan, the United States, Russia and China.

China, the North's closest ally and the host of the six-party talks, has yet to express its official stance on Pyongyang's suspected nuclear test.

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