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Friday, Nov. 3, 2006

Talk of going nuclear irks opposition


Staff writer

Four opposition parties leveled a joint protest Thursday at key Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers who have repeatedly argued that Japan needs debate whether to develop nuclear arms in response to North Korea's atomic test.

The Democratic Party of Japan, Japanese Communist Party, Social Democratic Party of Japan and People's New Party also called on Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono to clearly express the chamber's opposition to the remarks by LDP policy chief Shoichi Nakagawa and Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who is also an LDP member.

The four parties handed the written request to Kono, who reportedly expressed his personal support, although he did not promise to take any action against the two.

On Oct. 10, the day after North Korea announced it had conducted a nuclear test, the Lower House unanimously passed a resolution condemning Pyongyang and demanding it immediately abandon its nuclear arms quest.

"(Nakagawa and Aso's statements) are clearly an insult to the Diet resolution," DPJ Diet affairs chief Yoshiaki Takagi told reporters after the protest was submitted.

Japan has long adhered to the three nonnuclear principles: not to develop, possess or allow the entry of nuclear weapons into the country.

Amid domestic and international criticism of Nakagawa and Aso for their statements, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly stressed that the government stands by the nonnuclear principles.



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The Japan Times

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