Japanese official calls for 'will' on nuclear arms

July 29, 1993|By Los Angeles Times

TOKYO -- Foreign Minister Kabun Muto says that Japan must have the will to build nuclear weapons if necessary to defend itself against a North Korean nuclear threat, the newspaper Nihon Keizai reports.

Mr. Muto made the statement yesterday to Japanese reporters at a news conference in Singapore after assuring the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that Japan would offer unqualified support for an indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The outgoing foreign minister also told ASEAN foreign ministers that Japan has no intention of building a nuclear arsenal of its own.

Japan is the only nation to have suffered nuclear attacks.

"There is a clause in the NPT allowing withdrawal from the treaty," Mr. Muto said, according to Nihon Keizai. "If North Korea develops nuclear weapons and that becomes a threat to Japan, first, there is the nuclear umbrella of the United States upon which we can rely. But if it comes down to a crunch, possessing the will that 'we can do it' is important. At such a time," a decision can be made, he said.

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