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Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, who provoked an uproar by suggesting that Japan’s ban on nuclear weapons could be reviewed, told a Diet panel Monday the government has no intention of abandoning the “three principles” of not possessing, manufacturing or allowing nuclear arms on its soil.

“My remarks did not indicate the government’s future policy,” Fukuda told a House of Representatives special committee.

“I regret that the remarks were taken as a government suggestion for the review. I did not mean that.”

The remark “was not intended to indicate the future course of the government’s policy,” Fukuda told the Diet session. “It is regrettable the remark was interpreted as a sign that the government may review (its nonnuclear principles).”

During the same session, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also stressed that his administration would adhere to the decades-old nonnuclear principles.

“Even if Japan becomes an economic giant, it will not become a military giant,” he said.

Although four opposition parties have called on Fukuda to resign over the remark, Koizumi said he has no intention of effecting his dismissal.

Fukuda on May 31 said off-the-record at a news conference: “The (nonnuclear) principles are just like the (war-renouncing) Constitution. But in the face of calls to amend the Constitution, amendment of the principles is also likely.”

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