Most Japanese favor non-nuclear policy

Updated: 2006-11-20 13:57
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TOKYO - Nearly 80 percent of Japanese favor preserving the country's anti-nuclear weapons policy, a newspaper reported Tuesday, amid ongoing debate over whether Japan should re-examine its stance.

Japan's Yomiuri newspaper said 79.9 percent of 1,757 respondents polled support maintaining the country's three-pronged policy of not possessing, developing or allowing the introduction of nuclear weapons on its territory.

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Only 17.6 percent of those asked said revising the principles was acceptable, while 2.6 percent had no response, the Yomiuri said.

The poll also found that 50.9 percent of the respondents opposed the idea of debating the policy, while 45.9 percent said they would accept debate.

The question of whether Japan should discuss its nuclear weapons policy is a touchy subject. Japan is the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of World War II.

But after North Korea detonated a nuclear device on October 9, some in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government - including Foreign Minister Taro Aso - have publicly suggested Tokyo should allow a re-examination of its non-nuclear policy.

Abe has repeatedly insisted he would stick to the non-nuclear policy. He has also stated several times that the position will not be debated formally in either the government or his ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The Yomiuri did not provide a margin of error for the poll conducted November 11-12 in face-to-face interviews.

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