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Gov't sources deny Abe voiced concern about possible 'no first use' nuke policy by U.S.

Multiple government sources have denied a U.S. news report that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has conveyed his concern about the possible adoption by the United States of a "no first use" policy for nuclear weapons.

"It's not true that the prime minister conveyed his opposition to Mr. (Adm. Harry) Harris," one of them said.

However, successive administrations led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), as well as the Foreign Ministry, have been wary of the U.S. government adopting a no first use policy. At a working level, Tokyo appears to have conveyed such concerns to Washington.

Regarding the administration of President Barack Obama's move to adopt such a policy, one Japanese government source said, "It's worrisome from the viewpoint of deterrence."

Views are prevalent within the Japanese government that the nuclear umbrella provided by the United States is indispensable for Japan's security.

Japan is caught in a dilemma between its increasingly severe security environment and its position as the only atomic-bombed country.

Uncertainty is growing over the situation in East Asia as a result of North Korea's nuclear tests and test-firing of missiles as well as China's military buildup. Therefore, if the United States were to unilaterally declare that it would adopt a no first use policy, it would have a huge impact on Japan's security. However, as the sole atomic-bombed country in the world, Japan faces difficulties in clearly voicing opposition to U.S. adoption of a no first use policy for nuclear weapons.

As moves toward nuclear arms reductions have gained momentum since President Obama visited Hiroshima this past May, a source close to the prime minister's office said the government is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the U.S. move.

"As the president is enthusiastically working on the issue, Japan isn't in a position to say whether the policy is good or bad. We're watching over how the country will press forward with the matter," the source said.

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