Japan to probe claims it sought nuclear arms in 1960s

Japan is to investigate a report that it considered arming itself with nuclear weapons in the late 1960s despite its pacifist vow to shun them, a senior government official said on Monday.

Last Updated: Oct 04, 2010, 21:01 PM IST

Tokyo: Japan is to investigate a report
that it considered arming itself with nuclear weapons in the
late 1960s despite its pacifist vow to shun them, a senior
government official said on Monday.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that Japan secretly
considered going nuclear and sought advice from what was then
West Germany in meetings with foreign ministry officials in
February 1969 in the Japanese resort of Hakone.
The report cited confidential West German foreign
ministry documents.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has ordered
his ministry to investigate the report, State Secretary for
Foreign Affairs Takeaki Matsumoto told a news conference.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, the top
government spokesman, said details of the allegation needed to
be clarified, including which "chain of command" was
responsible for such talks.

Japan, the only nation to be attacked with nuclear
weapons, was hit with two atomic bombs by the United States in
the closing days of World War II.

It has maintained its policy against the possession,
production and presence of nuclear weapons in its territory
since 1967.

The non-nuclear principles were first declared by
then-prime minister Eisaku Sato in 1967 and a resolution to
abide by them was adopted in parliament in 1971.

In the secret talks, the Japanese side said it had
sufficient technology to produce nuclear weapons to guard
itself against the nuclearisation of the region after China
conducted a nuclear test in 1964, NHK reported.

PTI