Staff writer

This is an opportune time for Japan to stand up to the United States and begin offering an alternative to its nuclear weapons policy, said Jacqueline Cabasso, executive director of a California-based nonprofit organization working toward a nuclear-free world.

The Western States Legal Foundation is a founding member of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, an international coalition of more than 1,000 citizens groups. Since its founding in 1982, Western States has been urging the U.S. government to start negotiations for the global elimination of nuclear weapons.

“North Korea’s missile test launch demonstrates very clearly the need for alternative security measures based on dialogue and economic cooperation,” Cabasso said in an interview with The Japan Times.

During her weeklong tour of Tokyo, Cabasso urged government officials to start working now to completely eliminate the presence of nuclear weapons from northeast Asia and emerge from beneath the protective nuclear umbrella of the U.S., which she says makes Japan’s disarmament efforts seem hypocritical.

“With the U.S. isolating itself in more and more ways, now is the perfect opportunity for the Japanese government to follow its people and take a firm stance against all nuclear weapons,” she said.

Cabasso pointed to Washington’s increasingly minority position on worldwide efforts to ban land mines and establish a permanent international criminal court, and its failure to support the 1996 International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion that the use or threat of nuclear weapons in war should be outlawed.

A clear policy against nuclear weapons by an ally such as Japan would put a dent in the double standard that the U.S. maintains over the nuclear haves and have-nots, Cabasso said.

“The possession of nuclear weapons is a constant stimulus for others to try to obtain them,” she said. “The nuclear tests by India and Pakistan this year demonstrate the magnitude of the flaws in what we now call security.”

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