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204 Japanese legislators call on President Obama to adopt 'sole purpose' doctrine

February 19, 2010

PNND member Hideo Hiraoka and 203 other Japanese legislators sent a letter to US President Obama (copied to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and key leaders in the US Congress) with regard to the US Nuclear Posture Review and the forthcoming NPT Review Conference.

The letter, which was also delivered by a delegation of Japanese legislators to the US ambassador to Japan, John V. Roos, supports the US objective to achieve a world without nuclear weapons as outlined in Obama's April 2009 Prague speech, calls on the US to adopt as a first step a 'sole purpose' policy (i.e. that the US nuclear weapons are only for deterrence against others from using nuclear weapons against the United States or its allies), and asserts that Japan will not seek the road toward possession of nuclear weapons if the US adopts such a policy.

Endorsers of the letter include leading members of all political parties such as Yoriko Kawaguchi (LDP - Co-chair of the International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament and a former Foreign Minister), Taro Kono (LDP - Former Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee), Senator Tadashi Inuzuka (DPJ from Nagasaki), Mizuho Fukushima (SDP) and Masao Akamatsu (Komei-to).

On February 9, Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama commented favourably in the Diet (Japanese Parliament) on Hiraoka’s initiative, indicating that it was in accordance with his government’s commitment to maintaining the Japanese three non-nuclear principles and his support for nuclear disarmament.

In addition, Hiraoka's initiative reinforces some of the key ideas in the letter sent by Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada (also a PNND member) to Hillary Clinton in December 2009 regarding the forthcoming US Nuclear Posture Review. In the letter, Okada distanced himself from the previous Japanese administration’s support for a strong US nuclear posture, and expressed concerns that Japanese officials may have lobbied the US not to reduce its nuclear arsenal – a position which “would clearly be at variance with my views, which are in favor of nuclear disarmament” (unofficial English translation). Okada’s letter also supported the idea that the role of nuclear weapons be restricted to deterrence of the use of nuclear weapons, and that the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon state members of the NPT be banned (see below for full text).

See also "Japan and NATO Are Ready for the US to Reduce Nuclear Weapons," Alyn Ware, Huffington Post.

» Read the Media Advisory

» Read the letter to President Obama from 204 Japanese legislators