- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nuclear debate

The United States understands why some Japanese leaders are talking openly about whether Japan should develop nuclear weapons or an anti-missile system with the United States, even though Japan’s military has been limited to self-defense since the end of World War II.

U.S. Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer told reporters in Tokyo that the Bush administration encourages the debate because of the growing threats in the region, especially after North Korea exploded a nuclear device earlier this month.

Mr. Schieffer has no problem with Japan’s policy against the production, possession or presence on Japanese territory of nuclear weapons, and continues to strongly support the U.S. commitment to defend Japan.

“The United States also understands very well the three nuclear principles here in Japan, and they are not inconsistent with American foreign policy goals here,” he said Friday at the Japan National Press Club.

“From our standpoint, we have been able to work under those guidelines for a long time and we see no necessity for changing that today.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe objects to developing nuclear weapons, but Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Shoichi Nakagawa, a top aide to Mr. Abe, have encouraged a discussion on the issue because of the threat posed from North Korea, which fired a ballistic missile over Japan in 1998.

Mr. Schieffer also encouraged a discussion about Japanese cooperation with the United States on missile defense.

“What would happen if a missile were launched by an adversary and a Japanese naval vessel had the ability to knock that missile down?” Mr. Schieffer asked.

“Would it have to wait until it could be finally determined that the missile was headed for Japan, or would it fire based upon the belief that any missile fired at or above Japanese airspace was a threat to Japan?”

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who meets with Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, and Kristin Silverberg, assistant secretary of state for the bureau of international organizations. He also delivers the annual Oliver Tambo lecture at Georgetown University.

• A delegation from Afghanistan comprising Commerce Minister Mohammed Amin Farhang; Suleman Fatimie, vice president of the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency; Atiq Panjshiri, president of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce; Hamidullah Farooqi, president of the Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce; and Ibrahim Mohib, chairman of the Afghan Business Council-Dubai. They attend the annual U.S.-Afghan Business Matchmaking Conference.

• Abdalla A. Alireza, minister of state of the Saudi Arabian Council of Ministers; and Mohammed Al-Qunaibet, vice chairman of the Economic and Energy Affairs Committee of the Saudi National Consultative Council. They participate in the 15th annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers’ Conference.


• Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs; Mikhail Margelov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council; and Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center. They participate in a conference on U.S.-Russian relations at the American Enterprise Institute.

• Victor Babiuc of the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Pavel Abraham, president of the Romanian Anti-Drugs National Agency. They participate in a conference on development in the Black Sea region at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


• Des Browne, Britain’s secretary of state for defense, who addresses Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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