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Japan PM: NKorea may be capable of sarin-loaded missiles

Japan PM: NKorea may be capable of sarin-loaded missiles

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned that North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas towards Japan.

"There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads", Abe told a parliamentary session.

NORTH KOREA: Analysts said investors sought safe havens as North Korea was believed to be planning a nuclear test and the USA sent an aircraft carrier toward the region. North Korean has intensified rhetoric warning it would retaliate strongly against any aggression as U.S. The 38 North website, which monitors North Korea, said satellite imagery of the country's Punggye-ri nuclear test site suggests it is "primed and ready" for an explosion.

Japan's National Security Council discussed how to evacuate its almost 60,000 citizens from South Korea in the event of a crisis, a government official said on Friday, amid rising concern over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Meanwhile, ahead of the "Day of the Sun" celebrations set for the next day, North Korea's military threatened a "merciless response" to any provocation from the USA, according to AFP.

Abe did not say why he speculates North Korea may have the capability to equip missiles with sarin gas.

Asian markets retreated amid reports that a North Korean official had threatened to "go to War" if provoked by the U.S., which the day before had used its largest non-nuclear bomb ever against underground tunnels used by IS fighters in Afghanistan.

Japan has taken a few steps this week to reassure the public about its effort to protect the public.

NORTH KOREA: Analysts said investors were seeking safe havens on concern North Korea may be planning a nuclear test.

"North Korea.is likely to maintain several facilities to produce chemical weapons and already possesses a considerable number of them", he added.

US stock and bond futures are not traded for market holiday on Good Friday.

ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "Geopolitics seemed to dominate over the past week with the ramifications of the U.S.' missile strike on Syria still reverberating and tensions around North Korea steadily building", Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital, said in a daily commentary.

A crisis on the Korean peninsula could prompt large numbers of refugees turning up in boats along the coast of the Sea of Japan, Kyodo news agency said. On Friday, the dollar was on the back foot against many other currencies after comments from Trump earlier this week that the United States currency was "getting too strong" and that he would like to see interest rates stay low.

Trump and China's president discussed North Korea at a meeting last week in Florida.

Earlier Friday Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said a conflict over North Korea could break out "at any moment", warning there would be no victor in any war.

Trump said also on Wednesday that his administration will not label China a currency manipulator in a report due shortly.

Information for this article was contributed by Mari Yamaguchi and Eric Talmadge of The Associated Press and by Russell Ward and Kanga Kong of Bloomberg News.


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