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Home > Media Reiews > News Review Last Updated: 14:52 03/09/2007
News Review #40: June 13, 2002

Nuke remark sours Sino-Japan ties

Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE

"Nuke remark sours Sino-Japan ties"

Related Article:
"Japan Comments on Nuclear Stance"
By The Associated Press / The New York Times

The article reports that a recent comment by a senior cabinet member has angered the Chinese and the relationship between the two countries is deteriorating.

A couple of weeks ago, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda made a remark in a closed gathering. As such, precise wording used is not known, but it has been reported and Mr Fukuda has admitted his saying so in a general manner that he said something like "Japan is not prohibited legally from having nuclear weapons and there is a possibility that a day may come when if majority of Japanese people wishes it to be so Japan may own nuclear arms."

If this is really the essence of what he said it appears only to be a description of the status quo. However, politicians sometimes make these seemingly innocent comments to check the political atmosphere, and when the person is the Chief Cabinet Secretary, it is no wonder some people jumped on the remark and began to make a big fuss out of it.

In any case the timing could not be worse. It is toward the end of a regular session at the Parliament where a stack of important bills is still pending. It is also when the diplomatic relation with China needs some care, to mend the aftermath of the standoff in the refugees incident in Shenyang last month, and to seek an agreement to salvage the unidentified boat sunk by the Japanese Coast Guard in the Chinese economic sea zone last December. In fact, it makes it hard to believe Mr Fukuda, an experienced politician in the high government position, would have made such a comment with intended political implications at such a critical timing. So the repercussions are limited to within the small, but arguably influential, political arena as a tactic in the aim to drag down the present Administration by attacking Mr Fukuda, while no one is even attempting to discuss the subject of nuclear armament itself.

The fact of the matter is that there is no room in the sentiment of Japanese people to begin even thinking about having nuclear weapons.

Accordingly, the sequence of events after the revelation of Mr Fukuda's remark seems as everything is played in accordance with a preset scenario. While the opposition parties began to take a confrontational stance as a routine political tactic to hinder the effort of the Administration, a few surrounding countries expressed their regrets following conventional protocol. And, of course, a number of media, often those of abroad, are writing excessively alarming articles, which also has become pretty much a routine in situations like this.

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