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NAGASAKI (Kyodo) Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Monday he would like to see established into law what is current national policy: The three nonnuclear principles of not possessing, producing or introducing nuclear weapons into Japan.

It is not clear whether Kan, who said last week that Japan must continue to rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, would be able to deliver on getting the principles written into law given the significant opposition to the idea.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, for example, expressed skepticism earlier this year about making the three principles legally binding for an indefinite period.

“I would like to consider enshrining the principles into law,” Kan told reporters after attending the memorial service marking the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

During his visit to Hiroshima last Friday for the annual memorial service there, Kan said, “Regrettably we can’t afford not to rely on nuclear deterrence because North Korea’s nuclear (threat continues).”

However, he added, “I continue to feel strongly about nuclear disarmament.”

Katsuki Masabayashi, head of a Nagasaki group of relatives of A-bomb victims, said in a meeting with Kan on Monday this his remark about deterrence “sounds as though you affirmed the legitimacy of nuclear arms, and broke the hearts of the members” of his group.

Kan responded: “I’m thinking about how we can abolish the nuclear weapons human beings have already created.

“I believe we have to change the world so that it no longer needs nuclear deterrence.”

In his comments to reporters, Kan also touched on Japan’s planned civilian nuclear power cooperation pact with India.

“We will pay sufficient attention to the issue of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and step up our efforts to get India to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,” he said.

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