2 Avril 2016
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
April 2, 2016 at 17:20 JST
The Abe Cabinet has decided that war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution does not necessarily ban Japan from possessing and using nuclear weapons.
In an April 1 written answer to opposition lawmakers in the Diet, the Cabinet also says the government “firmly maintains a policy principle that it does not possess nuclear weapons of any type under the three non-nuclear principles.”
The address was adopted at a Cabinet meeting in response to memorandums of questions submitted to the Lower House by Seiji Osaka of the largest opposition Democratic Party and Takako Suzuki, an independent.
Successive administrations have maintained a constitutional interpretation that Paragraph 2 of Article 9 does not ban Japan from possessing armed forces that is the minimum necessary for self-defense.
In a statement to the Diet in 1978, Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda said Article 9 does not absolutely prohibit the country from possessing nuclear weapons as long as it is limited to the minimum necessary level.
But Fukuda added that it is Japan’s national principle to abide by the three non-nuclear principles, introduced by Prime Minister Eisaku Sato in 1967.
The written address adopted by the Abe Cabinet on April 1 maintains the previous governments’ interpretation of the Constitution that Article 9 allows the country to possess an armed force that is the minimum necessary for self-defense.
“Even if it involves nuclear weapons, the Constitution does not necessarily ban the possession of them as long as they are restricted to such a minimum necessary level,” it says.
The written address also referred a controversial remark by Yusuke Yokobatake, director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, at the Upper House Budget Committee on March 18 that he does not believe the Constitution bans the use of any type of nuclear weapon.
It says Yokobatake’s remark only reaffirmed the government’s principle.