'Use of nuclear weapons is not unconstitutional': vice-chief cabinet secretary

Vice-chief Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo on May 27 acknowledged a magazine report of his statement, "Use of nuclear weapons is not unconstitutional," at the House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting, adding that he only meant to introduce the interpretation of the constitution which the government has maintained on this question.

The June 2 issue of the weekly magazine, Sunday Mainichi, which came out last week, reported on Abe's lecture on May 13 at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Abe, at the Budget Committee meeting, insisted that the Constitution allows nuclear weapons to be used, referring to the government position announced in 1978 that the Constitution does not prohibit the nation from having nuclear or conventional weapons as long as it does not exceed the minimum necessity for defending itself.

Abe explained that the Three Non-nuclear Principles ban the use of nuclear weapons even though the Constitution allows it.

Akahata on May 28 stated that Abe insisted that, depending on government policy, Japan will be able to maintain or use nuclear weapons under the Constitution.

In 1998, Omori Masasuke, then Legislative Bureau director general, was criticized by citizens including A-bomb victims for stating, "I think it is logically possible to use nuclear weapons if it matches the minimum necessity for defending our country." (end)