• Kyodo

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In an apparent effort to check China’s growing power, Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa on Saturday made remarks to the effect that Japan could easily become a nuclear power.

In a speech here, Ozawa criticized China’s military build-up, saying that the conceited attitude of Beijing could make the Japanese “hysterical.”

“If Japan desires, it can possess thousands of nuclear warheads. Japan has enough plutonium in use at its nuclear power plants for three to four thousand (of them),” Ozawa said. “If that should happen, we wouldn’t lose (to China) in terms of military strength. What would (China) do then?”

Ozawa explained that he made the comments to officials of the Chinese Communist Party in a recent meeting.

While he emphasized that the aim of his remarks was to call for the forging of a closer bilateral relationship and create a “society where both nations can coexist,” some observers said the comments would be roundly criticized as they have touched upon the delicate subject of Japan’s nuclear armament.

“China should speed up its democratization process” and link its fate to that of Japan, Ozawa said, suggesting that this would contribute to world peace.

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