Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda must resign -- Akahata editorial, June 4

Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo's statement calling for the Three Non-nuclear Principles to be reviewed to allow Japan's possession of nuclear weapons has drawn much criticism both at home and abroad.

The opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, jointly demanded that Fukuda immediately resign and that the parliament urgently discuss this issue in the presence of Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro.

The Liberal Democratic Party and other ruling parties are trying hard to deal with repercussions caused by this statement. Thus, Fukuda's hostility to the Three Non-nuclear Principles has become a major issue in Japan.

Evasive answers can't be accepted

At first, the Chief Cabinet Secretary rejected his involvement in this, saying, "I couldn't have made such a remark that would mean a major policy change leading to a collapse of the cabinet." But, in a state of considerable perturbation, Fukuda admitted to making the statement suggesting a future policy change regarding nuclear weapons.

Now, it has become crystal clear that Japan's chief cabinet secretary has called for the Three Non-nuclear Principles to be reviewed.

Surprised at critical reactions to his statement from within and outside Japan, Fukuda gave evasive answers such as, "What I said was wrongly reported. I want the press to be more prudent."

Fukuda's statement can't be attributed to his careless wording or a slip of the tongue. This represents what the Koizumi Cabinet is going to do and is made clear from Koizumi's remarks that "It doesn't matter at all," and "I can't understand why they are making so much fuss."

The Koizumi Cabinet believed that "the possession of nuclear weapons should be regarded as admissible," and that the Three Non-nuclear Principles should be reviewed as a matter of course. In this sense, Fukuda's statement has become all the more serious.

For the Japanese people, the issue is not whether Japan can maintain nuclear weapons or not, because nuclear weapons must be eliminated completely.

We must not forget that Japan is the world"s first country against which nuclear weapons were used in war.

Japan's national policy of holding fast to the Three Non-nuclear Principles is firmly backed by the people's earnest desire for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

For that reason, past Liberal Democratic Party governments have had to declare that the Three Non-nuclear Principles must be observed since they were adopted in the Diet. Fukuda Takeo, the chief Cabinet secretary's father, said when he was prime minister that the Three Non-nuclear Principles are not just one cabinet's temporary policy but the principles that successive cabinets must maintain.

Japan declares in the Constitution that it forever renounces war and will never maintain military forces as war potential. How can such a country possess nuclear weapons which could wipe out the human species?

The elimination of nuclear weapons is the immediate task for the international community in the 21st century. At the 2001 United Nations General Assembly, the resolution calling for a start of negotiations for a treaty on the elimination of nuclear weapons was adopted by an overwhelming majority.

The government of the only atom-bombed country should have taken the initiative in such an international current and made efforts to realize a nuclear-free world. The government, however, suggested a review of the three non-nuclear principles. The Japanese government's inclination to cling to nuclear weapons runs counter to the international trend.

Naturally South Korea and other neighboring countries are demanding that the chief cabinet secretary resign, saying that his remark is in defiance of world peace and the stability of Northeastern Asia.

Cabinet may dissolve

Prime Minister Koizumi said that Fukuda's remarks that Japan can have nuclear weapons is nothing to be concerned about. Far from being inconsequential, it is a very serious matter that could result in the collapse of the Koizumi Cabinet.

If Prime Minister Koizumi still wants Fukuda to retain his office, the last possible measure is to drive the government into a corner by the people's own pressure. (end)