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CDP lawmakers slam FM Kono for praise of Trump nuclear weapons policy

Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks during a Feb. 8, 2018 House of Representatives Budget Committee session. (Mainichi)

Two legislators of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) criticized Foreign Minister Taro Kono for hailing the United States' latest Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Kono released a statement on Feb. 3 declaring that the U.S. nuclear strategy document clarified Washington's commitment to providing extended deterrence to its allies including Japan and that Tokyo "highly appreciates" the latest NPR.

In a House of Representatives Budget Committee session on Feb. 8, the CDP's Yoshinori Suematsu stated, "Japan is the only atomic-bombed country. It's inappropriate to rely only on U.S. nuclear deterrence."

Kono responded, "North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose a real threat. We highly appreciate the NPR in that it clarifies that the U.S. is committed to nuclear deterrence to its allies."

Noting that Kono had called nuclear arms reductions in the Diet and other venues before he was appointed as foreign minister in August 2017, Suematsu said the foreign minister's support for the NPR -- which specifies the development of low-yield nuclear weapons -- contradicts his earlier nuclear disarmament stance.

Foreign Minister Kono countered by saying, "It is Russia that is destabilizing the world by developing small tactical nuclear weapons. For the U.S. to develop low-yield nuclear arms would in fact raise the bar for using nuclear weapons."

The CDP's Hiranao Honda declared that it is wrong to praise the entire NPR. Kono replied that "it's extremely regrettable that the NPR contains negative descriptions about the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty."

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