Japan may officially allow the United States to bring nuclear weapons into the country if an emergency threatens national safety, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida hinted Friday.
Speaking to a Diet committee, Kishida outlined certain exceptions to Japan’s long-held principles of not possessing, producing or allowing nuclear weapons on its territory.
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has maintained the position held by previous administrations, Kishida said in response to questions from former Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, a senior member of the Democratic Party of Japan, the main opposition force.
Okada in 2010 led an investigation by the DPJ-led administration disclosing that Japan and the United States signed secret pacts during the Cold War era, including one under which Tokyo agreed to allow U.S. nuclear-armed vessels to make port calls in Japan.
Kishida told the Lower House Budget Committee that he adhered to an earlier account made by Okada stating that whether the government would “adamantly observe the (non-nuclear) principles despite threats to people’s safety depends on the decision of the administration in power.”
“The future cannot be determined in advance,” Kishida cited Okada as saying, suggesting the United States could bring nuclear weapons into Japan during an emergency.
In a related move, Abe admitted last month that it was a mistake for the previous Liberal Democratic Party-led governments to continue to deny the existence of the secret Japan-U.S. agreements, which have already been declassified in the United States.
Confab on nukes opens
Nuevo Vallarta Mexico KYODO
An international conference designed to discuss the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons opened on Thursday in Mexico with atomic bomb survivors as well as representatives from more than 100 countries participating.
Participants are expected to discuss how to achieve a world without nuclear weapons as well as the medium and long-term impacts of atomic weapons on food supply and climate change worldwide.
The second International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit is sponsored by the Mexican government and follows the first meeting in Oslo in March of last year held by the Norwegian government.
Like the 2013 event, missing at this year’s meeting are officials from the five powers allowed to have nuclear weapons under the international non-proliferation regime — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.
This year’s nuclear weapons conference is drawing government representatives from more countries than the 127 that participated in the Norwegian assembly.
A large number of citizens’ organizations have also sent members for the Mexican meeting.
Atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as those who live outside Japan were brought out on the first day of the conference to directly appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons and to speak about their experience of being exposed to radiation.
The host country Mexico is being represented by Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena.