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When former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe encouraged a discussion on what amounted to stationing U.S. nuclear bombs on the territory of the sole nation to be attacked with them, it wasn’t clear what kind of reaction he expected — or if he had ulterior motives.

Japanese, with images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seared into their minds, have long had what observers call a “nuclear allergy.” Even the mere discussion of allowing nuclear weapons into Japanese territory has proven toxic for politicians.

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