President Reagan won a standing ovation Friday from the...


TOKYO -- President Reagan won a standing ovation Friday from the Japanese Diet, telling a nation still haunted by the nuclear devastation of World War II that 'a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.'

Reagan's speech, the first by an American president to the Japanese parliament, was interrupted more than two dozen times by applause, and he received a standing ovation from the lawmakers at the end.


The applause was loudest when Reagan dedicated himself to the control and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. Japan is the only country ever to feel the effects of nuclear holocaust, in 1945 when the United States dropped two atomic bombs to hasten the end of World War II.

At one point, Reagan addressed the Diet in Japanese -- 'Nichi-bei no yuko wa eiendesu' or 'Japanese-American friendship is forever.'

Legislators politely applauded the statement, which was translated at least two different ways because the remark was barely intelligible.


Nakasone said, 'It was a good speech ... dignified and humorous.' Reagan won chuckles when he praised Japan's system of low taxation, suggesting he would have an easier time in Washington if the Japanese Diet switched places with Congress.

Reagan said having lived through four wars, 'I believe there can be only one policy for preserving our precious civilization in this modern age: A nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.'

The speech came on the third day of a four-day state visit, and he planned another round of talks with Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone on trade and economic policy.

Afterward, Reagan and his wife, Nancy, attended a private reception given by U.S. Ambassador Mike Mansfield and flew by helicopter to Nakasone's rural cottage -- 'The House of Heaven's Heart' -- for a quiet fireside chat.

The speech was boycotted by the 43 Communist Party members. Another memberconspicuously missing was Takuei Tanaka, who was recently convicted of accepting a $2 million bribe in a scandal involving America's Lockheed Aircraft Corp.

Reagan urged Japan to join the United States in a 'powerful partnership for good.'

'We cannot prosper unless we are secure and we cannot be secure unless we are free. And we will not succeed in any of these endeavors unless Japan and America work in harmony,' Reagan told the Japanese parliament.


The Reagans, who were guests at a white-tie state banquet staged Thursday in their honor by Emperor Hirohito, are to travel to South Korea Saturday and return to Washington Monday.

Reagan used his speech to the Diet to reinforce his earlier prediction of 'a new era' in Japanese-American affairs and to make a forceful counterattack on those who contend his stress on military might is contrary to the goal of peace.

Reagan reaffirmed his dedication to arms control and said, 'The only value of possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they can't be used -- ever.'

Citing the hazards of 'this imperfect and dangerous world,' Reagan said Japan and the United States -- as the West's two greatest economic powers -- must join forces to promote freedom.

'I have come to Japan because we have an historic opportunity - indeed an historic responsibility,' he said. 'We can become a powerful partnership for good not just in our own countries, not just in the Pacific region, but throughout the world.'

Reagan, whose speech seemed directed as much at peace demonstrators in the streets of Tokyo as voters at home, answered those who depict him as a trigger-happy president bent on confrontation.


'Our freedom inspires no fear because it poses no threat,' Reagan said. 'We intimidate no one, and we will not be intimidated by anyone.'

'The stronger the dedication of Japan, the United States and our allies to peace through strength, the greater our contribution to building a more secure future will be,' he said.

Reagan contended the United States 'is doing our part' to negotiate arms reductions with the Soviet Union, but, 'They are blocking the dramatic reductions the world wants.'

Although he conceded a 'bleak picture' for an arms agreement in view of a Soviet threat to suspend the Geneva arms talks if NATO deploys new U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe, Reagan vowed:

'I will not be deterred in my search for a breakthrough. The United States will never walk away from the negotiating table. Peace is too important.'

Reagan also reassured the Japanese the United States in seeking to cut the number of Soviet missiles menacing Europe would not allow Moscow to shift those weapons to the Asian theater.

The Soviets already have more than 100 triple-warhead SS-20 missiles aimed at Asia, including Japan.

Japan has been the scene of mass demonstrations against nuclear arms and the U.S.-Japan defense pact reaffirmed by Reagan and Nakasone.


Nakasone has won approval for a 6.9 percent increase in defense spending next year, fueling fears Japan could be headed down a dangerous road toward militarization.

Concern that these fears might lead to a disruption of Reagan's visit prompted the Japanese government to mobilize an army of 90,000 police during his stay.

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