The government has no intention of abandoning the nation’s three nonnuclear principles, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a Diet panel Wednesday, five days after causing an uproar by saying Japan’s ban on atomic weapons could be reviewed.

“The government’s continuing position to maintain the three nonnuclear principles remains unchanged. It is also my conviction,” Fukuda told a meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Labor and Welfare. “It is very regrettable that I have troubled many quarters by various news reports.”

Given that the committee also handles problems related to A-bomb victims, opposition panel members had demanded that Fukuda explain his controversial suggestion that Japan may revise its principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear arms into the country.

Fukuda told the panel he had been trying to say there was the possibility of diverse opinions regarding national security policies in accordance with changes in international circumstances.

U.S. sees no change

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The United States sees no change in Japan’s nonnuclear policy despite the controversy over recent remarks by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, which he later withdrew, Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato said Tuesday.

“The U.S. is aware of the ongoing debate in Japan and is responding quite calmly,” Kato told a news conference.

He said the issue was raised in a meeting Monday with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Kato said he met Armitage to exchange views on tensions between Pakistan and India prior to Armitage’s visit to those nations later this week.

Armitage referred to the Japanese nuclear policy issue at the outset of the meeting, Kato said.

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