GROWING SUPPORT FOR A NUCLEAR JAPAN
An unprecedented 20 % of the members of the Japanese Diet now support arming Japan with nuclear weapons
. Formerly such a position would have been regarded as the political kiss of death in Japan which has seen ministers resign over public comments expressing nationalist or militarist sentiment. This sea change in Japanese opinion is a direct result of North Korea's aggressive nuclear stance and particularly, the test firing of North Korea's Taepodong missile over Japanese airspace. China in turn, has been moved by the spectre of Japanese rearmament from passive support of Pyongyang to active diplomatic alignment with the Bush administration demand for a nuclear-free Korean penninsula as an end result of negotiations. Excerpt:
"Nearly 20 percent of Japan’s lower house of parliament believe that Tokyo should consider becoming a nuclear weapons state if international developments push the country in that direction, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Aug. 22).
Japan is the only country to have been struck with nuclear weapons and the subject has traditionally been taboo. As North Korea has developed its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, however, Japanese lawmakers have become more open to the idea of possessing a nuclear capability, according to AP.
The Mainichi newspaper conducted the poll before Sunday’s elections, and 83 out of 480 lawmakers said they were in favor of considering the idea.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi does not favor considering nuclear weapons and has said that he has no intention of altering Tokyo’s long-standing opposition to the idea. Of the 83 lawmakers, however, 63 were from Koizumi’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party."