Prime minister of A-bombed country keeps silent about new U.S. nuclear weapons plan?: Akahata editorial, March 18, 2002 (excerpts)

The U.S. Department of Defense plan for the use of nuclear weapons has come to light as part of the "Nuclear Posture Review" submitted to the U.S. Congress late January.

The report named seven countries, including North Korea and Iraq, as possible targets of U.S. nuclear attacks that may be launched in contingencies.

Threat to specific countries to make 'nuclear attack'

All the countries which the U.S. report regarded as targets of possible U.S. nuclear attack have no such weapons except Russia and China. They include Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which U.S. President George W. Bush labeled as an "axis of evil" and hinted at launching attacks.

This is the first time a U.S. administration report to Congress names non-nuclear weapon countries as possible targets of nuclear attacks, although past U.S. administrations have made it clear that the United States will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons.

As possible contingencies that would trigger the use of nuclear weapons, the report cites Iraqi attacks on Israel against Palestine, a North Korean attack against South Korea, and a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Japan can't overlook these remarks.

Also, the report called for the further development of tactical nuclear weapons.

For example, the report mentioned the development of more powerful and smaller nuclear weapons, and by the combined use of nuclear and non-nuclear forces, bunker-bust hidden facilities. Such a plan will lower the threshold for the U.S. to use its nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Bush Administration has faced international criticism for its assertion that it will throw away the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, despite it being a signatory. As a next step, the U.S. government is resuming nuclear tests to upgrade nuclear weapons.

In the 2000 NPT Review Conference, nuclear weapons possessing countries, including the U.S., were obliged to accept calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons, a ban on the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear Proliferation Treaty member-countries, and a halt to nuclear tests.

This was due to severe criticism expressed against the U.S. by non-aligned countries and other U.N. members who criticized the U.S. and other nuclear-haves for clinging to nuclear weapons and threatening the world with a possible nuclear war even in the 21st century.

However, the Unites States government has begun to draft a scenario including nuclear attack plans, by reneging on its own international promise. Inevitably, such an attitude has met international criticism, especially from countries which the U.S. designated as possible targets of nuclear attacks.

What must be questioned is Japan's response to this serious issue.

If U.S. Forces happen to use nuclear weapons in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula or in the Taiwan Strait, Japan will be regarded as an accomplice for allowing itself to be used as a U.S. stronghold for nuclear attacks.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro lauded Bush's 'axis of evil' threat, saying that it represents an "undaunted U.S. resolution to fight against terrorism," when U.S. allies in Europe are casting disapproving eyes on it. Does the prime minister make no criticism when its ally is planning to use nuclear weapons? If so, Koizumi is not qualified to be prime minister of Japan, the only Atomic-bombed country in the world.

Substantial power moving world politics

The Japanese people, who have had the tragic experiences of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, have kept on calling on the world to act for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The call developed to influence international politics which successfully urged nuclear-haves to pledge to take steps to withdraw nuclear weapons.

Whether or not the Koizumi Cabinet moves in opposition to the new U.S. policy of using nuclear weapons is attracting public attention. If he doesn't, he must be labeled as a follower of the U.S. pro-nuclear stand and against the people's earnest hope for a complete ban on nuclear weapons. (end)