Japan seeks tougher North Korea nuclear inspections

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  July 10, 2018 at 12:33 PM
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July 10 (UPI) -- Japan is exploring tougher options on North Korea nuclear inspections and will not be satisfied with only inspecting facilities disclosed by Pyongyang, according to a Japanese press report.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported Tuesday Tokyo is working on plans to conduct a "compulsory inspection" of North Korea's suspected nuclear facilities, whether or not North Korea acknowledges the existence of such sites.

Steps leading to nuclear inspection would initially begin at the International Atomic Energy Agency, a U.N. organization headed by Yukiya Amano, a Japanese diplomat.

The U.N. agency will inspect the facilities North Korea does disclose, but the Japanese government maintains the measure alone might not be sufficient.

The Japanese newspaper confirmed Tokyo believes there is no guarantee North Korea will report all facilities voluntarily, and more work is needed.

The IAEA is able to access a broad range of locations, some with as little as two hours advance notice.

But if Pyongyang denies inspectors access, complete denuclearization may be out of reach for the international community.

The government is negotiating with Washington on ways to address undisclosed North Korean facilities, according to the Mainichi.

A Japanese government official told the paper it is "necessary" to inspect suspected facilities, and that "stricter" conditions are needed.

In an interview with the Sankei Shimbun, David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security said North Korea retains a uranium enrichment facility, called Kangsong, but the site has been operating in secrecy.

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