North Korea on Saturday accused Japan’s ruling party of playing up a nuclear threat posed by Pyongyang to achieve a huge win in last weekend’s general election. The North’s Korea-Asia-Pacific Peace Committee also criticised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for planning to ask US President Donald Trump to ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang when he visits Tokyo early next month. Earlier this week, Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso attributed the ruling party’s electoral victory to North Korea’s rising threat, a view he altered on Friday in the face of criticism from opposition lawmakers. “Abe and his group should know that they are playing a dangerous gamble by putting the prospect of their island country and the destiny of their people at stake”, the North Korean statement said. During the election campaign, Abe focused on Japan’s heightened security concerns given North Korea’s continued testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in defiance of UN resolutions forbidding such activity and crippling economic sanctions. In connection with Trump’s visit to Japan from November 5, it warned that “the whole Japanese islands can bury into the bottom of the sea if they go reckless by acting a stooge in the US racket for escalating confrontation with the (North Korea) and in its war moves while chiming in with old lunatic Trump’s crazy remarks”. But verbal threats from North Korea continue, and Japanese, South Korean and US officials are preparing for a possible provocation during Trump’s five-nation Asia trip, which will also include visits to Seoul and Beijing.