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Abe Vows Japan Won't Go Nuclear
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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Tuesday that Japan would not develop nuclear weapons despite North Korea's first test of an atom bomb.

Abe, a conservative who supports a stronger role for Japan's military, rejected speculation that North Korea's announcement on Monday of a nuclear test would trigger a regional arms race.

"Possession of nuclear arms is not an option at all for our country," Abe said in parliament.

"I want to state clearly that there will be no change at all in our three non-nuclear principles," he said.

Abe was referring to Japan's four-decade-old policy against "possession, production and presence" of nuclear arms in its territory.

More than 210,000 people died instantly or from horrific burns when the United States dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, ending World War II.

The North Korea's test came with Japan expanding its defence posture, 60 years after the United States forced the defeated country to renounce a right to a military.

The Japanese parliament Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution demanding an immediate end to the nuclear program in North Korea.

"Japan strongly demands the DPRK immediately abandon all nuclear weapons and nuclear programs," said the resolution passed by the 480-member lower house.

"The international community has ... urged North Korea to use restraint. But North Korea's nuclear experiment ignored such efforts. It cannot be justified in any way for any reason. Japan cannot tolerate this reckless act of outrageous violence," it said.

"In view of the fact that Japan is the only country in the world that suffered nuclear bombing, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this legislative body opposes nuclear experiments by all countries," the resolution said.

"The North Korea's nuclear development is a direct threat to peace and security of Northeast Asia, including Japan. At the same time, it is a great challenge to peace and security of the international community," it said.

The resolution calls for a diplomatic end to the crisis.

But it said the UN Security Council should consider as one option a resolution that invokes the UN Charter's Chapter VII, which provides for mandatory sanctions or, as a last resort, military action.

The resolution also called for Japan to strengthen co-ordination with China, South Korea and other countries "to explore peaceful resolutions to the issue."

(China Daily October 11, 2006)



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