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Abe assures Hu that Japan won't go nuclear

Written by: Staff

HANOI, Nov 20: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said today he had assured Chinese President Hu Jintao Japan would not acquire nuclear weapons, but use its position as the only country to have suffered atomic attacks to urge members of the nuclear club to reduce their arsenals.

Mr Abe was speaking at a news conference during an official visit to Vietnam following a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Hanoi, at which the issue of how to deal with North Korea's October nuclear test was high on the agenda.

''Our country is the only one in the world to have suffered a nuclear attack,'' Mr Abe said. ''We have to take the lead in persuading the world to give up nuclear weapons,'' he added.

In a bilateral summit on Saturday, Mr Hu thanked Prime Minister Abe for repeatedly maintaining Japan's commitment to its non-nuclear status.

''In my meeting with the Chinese leader, I reiterated that Japan will not obtain nuclear weapons,'' Mr Abe said. ''I also spoke of the necessity for nuclear countries to reduce their arsenals.'' Senior members of Mr Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party have recently sparked controversy by saying Japan should debate the question of going nuclear, but Mr Abe said there would be no discussion of the issue within his government.

Pacifist Japan relies for protection on the US nuclear umbrella under a bilateral security pact. Many analysts say that obtaining nuclear weapons, although technically feasible, would be likely to create more risks for Japan than it would resolve.

The government said last week Japan would not go nuclear, although possession of small nuclear weapons would not be a breach of Article Nine of its constitution which renounces war.


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