N Korea warns Japan before Abe returns to power
Beijing: North Korea gave a cautious response Monday to the landslide victory in Japan's general election by the Liberal Democratic Party led by Shinzo Abe, the prime minister-in-waiting known for his hawkish stance on national defense.
"The shift to the right and the rise of militarism in Japanese society have reached to a serious stage," the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, said in an analysis piece, in the first reference to the December 16 House of Representatives election in Japan by North Korea's media.
Abe is set to be reelected prime minister in a parliamentary vote Wednesday.
The LDP president first served as prime minister from September 2006 to September 2007.
The paper said Abe is widely known for being on "the extreme right" of the political spectrum, Kyodo news reported.
Referring to the LDP's call to bolster Japan's national defense by upgrading the Self-Defense Forces to "Defense Forces" as one of its campaign promises, the Rodong Sinmun said, "It is an issue of concern that forces that will drive Japan into militarism have won considerable support (from the Japanese public) through votes."
"Japan's re-aggression to Asia is approaching as reality," it said.
Other countries are paying close attention to political developments in Japan, it added.
Officials in Pyongyang have said North Korea is closely watching the new Japanese government's policy toward the country, suggesting sanctions alone will not lead to improved bilateral ties.
Tokyo suspended revived talks with Pyongyang over its rocket launch earlier this month, which many countries condemned as a long-range ballistic missile test in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
"Whether bilateral relations will improve will depend on Mr Abe's attitude toward us," a North Korean official in charge of Japanese affairs said, expressing hope for a change from his hard-line posture toward Pyongyang.
"We will be closely watching the new government's (North) Korea policy."
Along with concern about North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, Japan has the pressing task of addressing the issue of Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals.
The two countries do not have diplomatic relations.