Fri, Aug 08, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Japan begins to express doubts about nuclear ban

FORMER TABOO In light of the threat posed by North Korea, Japan is thinking the once unthinkable and asking whether it should have its own atomic weapons


Almost all were united in saying there is no harm in discussing a nuclear Japan.

"Japan must start saying right now that it might go nuclear," said Tadae Takubo, professor of policy at Kyorin University and one of The Shokun writers. "For a nation to entirely forsake nuclear weapons is like taking part in a boxing match and promising not to throw hooks."

Hideo Hosoi, The Shokun editor in chief, believes times are changing.

"If people had voiced such opinions a few years ago, they would have been branded weirdos," he said. "We're starting to be able to talk about it in a rational and normal way."

Still, Japan's postwar pacifist roots are well ingrained, and some even see the country's lack of nuclear weapons as its best defense.

"All we can do is pray there'll be no nuclear attack," says cab driver Hiroyuki Ito. "But would anyone shoot an unarmed man?"

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