Japanese prime minister shows enthusiasm for denuclearization of Northeast Asia

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On November 2, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, at the Lower House Budget Committee, expressed his enthusiasm for pursuing the denuclearization of Northeast Asia, a vision included in the manifesto of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) issued during the latest Lower House election.

Hideo Hiraoka, a DPJ member from Yamaguchi's second constituency, pointed out that the prime minister did not mention the pursuit of the denuclearization of Northeast Asia in his speech at the United Nations this past September, despite the fact this issue was raised in the DPJ manifesto. Prime Minister Hatoyama responded to Mr. Hiraoka's remark, saying, "I want the public to understand that the vision of the denuclearization of Northeast Asia is included in the hope we all share of building a world without nuclear weapons. Our intention to seek the denuclearization of Northeast Asia has never changed."

In May 2008, the DPJ Parliamentarians for Disarmament Promotion made a proposal regarding denuclearization that includes the following ideas: 1) Japan, South Korea and North Korea will conclude a treaty banning the development, possession and entry of nuclear weapons and 2) a protocol will stipulate that the United States, Russia and China will not stage a nuclear attack against Japan, South Korea and North Korea. The DPJ manifesto, however, did not spell out further details.

(Originally published on November 3, 2009)