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Japan to install monitors to track North Korea nuclear tests

By Elizabeth Shim
Japan is planning to invest in more technology that can track North Korea nuclear tests from a northern region of the country, a local newspaper reported. File Photo by Yonhap/UPI
Japan is planning to invest in more technology that can track North Korea nuclear tests from a northern region of the country, a local newspaper reported. File Photo by Yonhap/UPI

Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Japan is investing $2.5 million in mobile monitoring technology that can keep an eye on North Korea's nuclear tests.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported Friday the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization, or CTBTO, is being tasked with deploying a mobile observer to detect the presence of radioactive gas in the atmosphere.

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The monitoring station would be located in the northern region of the country.

The CTBTO has installed 64 observation facilities around the world.

In Japan, monitoring stations are operating in Gunma Prefecture, Takasaki City and Okinawa Prefecture, according to the report.

It is not clear how effective a new facility would be in tracking down a North Korea nuclear test.

Radioactive gases that appear after a nuclear test are often too insufficient in supply to be detected and can dissipate quickly, depending on the direction of winds.

Radioactive elements that surfaced after North Korea nuclear tests in 2006 and 2013 were observed in Canada and at Gunma, respectively.

But no radioactive gas was detected in January or September 2016, when North Korea conducted its most recent nuclear tests.

The CTBTO plans to install mobile observation equipment in northern Japan and operate the station for two years.

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Tokyo plans to assign two Japanese experts to the preparatory committee.

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