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Abe told of EU support against Pyongyang's a-bomb

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Abe told of EU support against Pyongyang's a-bomb

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been in Brussels as part of his week-long a tour of several European capitals. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso reassured him of close cooperation to press nuclear-armed North Korea to abandon its weapons.

London and Berlin had already voiced their support for taking a firm line with Pyongyang. North Korea detonated its first nuclear device in a test last October.

Abe also reiterated Tokyo’s opposition for any lifting of the EU ban on arms exports to China, which some member states favour.

He is on a drive to develop alliances. His country’s defence arm was upgraded to a ministry this month; It has had agency status since defeat in WWII.

Promoting a bigger role for Japan in global security, Abe is also at work on changes to the pacifist constitution.

This Friday Abe he will make a historic appearance at NATO headquarters in Brussels – the first such visit by a Japanes prime minister.

Officials say he will stress Tokyo’s growing interest in active peace-keeping, post-conflict reconstruction and disaster relief operations.