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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Diet passes resolution demanding N. Korea halt launch

Staff writer

With time running out till the launch of what North Korea claims is a satellite, the Diet unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday urging the reclusive state to abandon the plan.

Tension has been rising in Japan. The first stage of the rocket is expected to fall in the Sea of Japan off Akita Prefecture, and the second to fly over Akita and Iwate prefectures and drop into the Pacific. North Korea has said the launch will take place sometime between Saturday and April 8.

"North Korea's launch is an action that harms the peace and stability not only of our nation but of Northeast Asia as a whole," the Lower House resolution states. "The action cannot by any means be tolerated and we express our firm protest against North Korea's prior notice of the launch."

The Lower House unanimously passed the resolution after the Upper House adopted a similar one earlier in the day.

The nonbinding resolution was carefully worded so that all political parties, including the Japanese Communist Party and Social Democratic Party, would agree to it.

The original draft drawn up by the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition and the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party, criticized the launch as "a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions" that prohibit North Korea from engaging in ballistic missile activities.

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