June 19, 2006 -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says Tokyo would first consult with the United States and then take what he called "severe action" if North Korea conducts a long-range missile test.
Reports say North Korea may have completed fueling a missile in advance of such a test. In 1998, North Korea fired an earlier version of its Taepodong missile over northern Japan into the Pacific Ocean.
Koizumi declined to offer details of Japan's possible response to a missile test. Instead, he urged Pyongyang to act "rationally and calmly."
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe spoke to reporters today in Tokyo about Japan's attitude toward the reports.
"Between Japan and the United States, there is a shared view that if North Korea were to launch a missile, it would be a threat to the security of the region," Abe said. "It goes against North Korea's promise for a missile launch moratorium, as stated in the Japan-North Korea declaration, as well the declaration made in the six-party talks."
Australia and New Zealand are also warning North Korea against a missile test, saying a launch would be seen as highly provocative.
(compiled from agency reports)