TOKYO -- An explicit North Korean warning that Japan would be the prime target should Pyongyang ever launch a nuclear attack has confirmed Tokyo's worst fears -- that it could not escape involvement in any future Korean conflict. North Korea insists, in the face of worldwide suspicions, that it has neither the intention nor the ability to build nuclear bombs. On Wednesday, however, the North Korean ambassador to India Cha Song-ju told South Korea's Yonhap news agency in New Delhi: ""Our nuclear arms, if developed, would be primarily designed to contain Japan."" It was Pyongyang's most explicit warning to date that Japan, the Korean people's ancestral enemy, would inevitably be caught up in a future war on the East Asian peninsula. North Korea and Japan still have no diplomatic relations, having failed in 1990-92 bilateral talks to end their long enmity and come to terms. There was no official reaction from the Japanese government on Thursday to Cha's reported remarks.
TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa told key ministries Thursday to draft emergency market-opening measures, possibly before the end of next week, to contain an escalating trade dispute with the United States. Hosokawa was also set to call a special cabinet meeting on Friday in an effort to speed up drafting of the ""voluntary"" measures he promised after last week's U.S.-Japan summit broke down over U.S. demands to set numerical market access targets. Before the failed summit, Washington spent weeks in heated negotiations with Tokyo trying to pry open its markets and cut its huge trade surplus with the United States. ""We must draw up more concrete and visible measures as soon as possible,"" government spokesman Masayoshi Takemura said after Hosokawa had summoned his chief trade negotiators to an emergency meeting. As for specific timing for the new measures, he said: ""As soon as possible, maybe before the next G-7 gathering.