Three Non-nuclear Principles have been confirmed by successive governments as 'national policy'

Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo on May 31 stated, "The Three Non-nuclear Principles are just like the Constitution. But in the face of calls to revise the Constitution, amendment of these principles is also likely." This statement is in stark contrast with what government officials have stated so far.

In 1971, the House of Representatives adopted a landmark resolution calling for Japan not to possess, manufacture or allow nuclear weapons to be brought into its territory, known as the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles."

Until then the Three Non-nuclear Principles had only been explained by the government as part of its policy.

In introducing the resolution to the House of Representatives on November 24, 1971, the government of Prime Minister Sato Eisaku explained its significance as follows:

"It is significant for the Diet, which is the supreme state organ, to resolve in definite terms that the manufacture, possession, or bringing in of nuclear weapons is banned, and to declare the Three Non-Nuclear Principles as a national will instead of just maintaining them as government policy with possibility. This is the way the Japanese people express their earnest wish that all nuclear weapons must be banned. This resolution will establish the Three Non-nuclear Principles as the nation's fundamental policy."

Even before this resolution, Fukuda Takeo (then foreign minister) stated in parliament that future governments will maintain the Three Non-nuclear Principles, saying:

"The government will firmly stand by the Three Non-nuclear Principles. Probably, the LDP will stay in power. The Sato Cabinet's policy is an LDP government-backed policy. So the policy of this cabinet will be maintained in future LDP cabinets" (November 15, 1971).

In 1975, Prime Minister Miki Takeo stated that the Three Non-nuclear Principles must not be altered by any future cabinet.

Prime Minister Fukuda Takeo confirmed Miki's view and further stated, "The Three Non-nuclear principles are a national policy like the Constitution" at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on February 13, 1978.

Prime Minister Fukuda also said, "Given that the Diet resolution calls for the strict observance of the Three Non-nuclear Principles, any future government must defend them as long as the resolution is in place" at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on March 6, 1978.

Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro said, "The Three Non-nuclear Principles are a national policy" (at a House of Councilors Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on April 12, 1983). (end)