Kishida: No revision on nuclear principles

Dec. 30, 2012 at 10:52 PM
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TOKYO, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The new Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has no plans to revise Japan's three principles relating to nuclear weapons, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said.

The principles bar the possession, manufacture or storage of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil.

Kishida was appointed foreign minister after the conservative Abe, a former prime minister, returned to the same post this month following his Liberal Democratic Party's landslide victory in parliamentary elections. The LDP defeated the 3-year-old government of the Democratic Party of Japan.

Kishida, in a media group interview, said the new government is not considering revising the non-nuclear principles, a move that would allow U.S. vessels carrying nuclear arms to visit Japanese ports, the Japan Times reported.

"The three nonnuclear principles are very important rules that previous Cabinets have valued," Kishida was quoted as saying. "This should be kept in the future. We are not having a discussion on a revision."

"I know that Abe's Cabinet is considered right wing or hawkish. But we have to explain [to the public that] there is a positive side as well, such as to execute things that we must do as a nation. But I think it is also important to show our breadth ... and show a sense of balance."

However, on the worsening territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Kishida rejected any compromise, stressing the islands are part of Japan based on history and international law, the Times said. He said it is important to keep communications open with China to avoid any incident.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, Kishida said his party does not favor any negotiations based on abolishing all tariffs without conditions.

The partnership is a U.S.-led effort on free trade among the countries in the region. Already the United States and 10 other countries, who are in talks, hope to conclude a deal by next year.

While Japan is not opposed to the effort, there is strong opposition among some sections in the country because of concerns it might lead to flooding the Japanese markets with tariff-free cheap imports, including agriculture products.

"If the prime minister visits the United States sometime soon, I presume [they] will touch on the TPP issue," Kishida was quoted as saying.

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