The Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition insists Japan should remain under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, while opposition parties’ policies vary on the issue, a survey by a nongovernmental organization opposed to atomic weapons found.
The LDP and New Komeito say the U.S. nuclear shield is an “appropriate” deterrent, but the Democratic Party of Japan said there should be more debate, according to the survey conducted by the International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament Japan NGO Network.
With the Lower House election nearing, the group sent questionnaires to 10 political parties, soliciting their stance on U.S. nuclear deterrence policy. Seven responded.
“Considering the possibility that nuclear weapons could be used to protect Japan and Japan could be exposed to the risk of nuclear attack as a result, Japan’s opinions should not be ignored in decision-making,” the DPJ said in its response to the survey.
Asked whether Japan should work toward calling on Washington to declare “no first use” of nuclear weapons, the LDP said Japan needs to respond practically — an indication of disapproval.
The DPJ said it is “an issue that should be discussed” with the administration of President Barack Obama. The Japanese Communist Party and Social Democratic Party support this approach.
The nuclear umbrella, in line with the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, recently came under the spotlight after Obama’s speech in Prague in April calling for a world free of nuclear arms, and North Korea’s second underground nuclear test in May.
“The Obama administration’s vision of nuclear abolition has had an impact on Japanese political parties . . . there are some emerging signs of policy shifts among opposition parties,” said Masayoshi Naito, a corepresentative of the NGO network.