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No specific ban on N-weapons, says key Cabinet legal expert via Asahi Shimbun

The head of the nation’s legal watchdog said Japan’s Constitution does not necessarily ban the use of nuclear weapons, but qualified the remark by saying their use is restricted under domestic and international laws.

“I am not thinking that the use of all kinds of nuclear weapons is banned under the Constitution,” Yusuke Yokobatake, director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, told the Upper House Budget Committee on March 18 in response to a question from Shinkun Haku of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

He made the remark after saying, “Limitations exist (on the use of nuclear weapons) under Japanese laws and international laws.”

Given the Japanese government’s policy of “three non-nuclear principles” to not possess or manufacture nuclear weapons or allow them into Japanese territory, it is extremely rare for a person in Yokobatake’s position to mention the use of nuclear weapons, even though he also referred to limitations.

“Nuclear weapons are a kind of weapon. My understanding is that, irrespective of whether they are nuclear weapons or not, any weapons should be used under the limitations permitted by domestic laws and international laws,” Yokobatake said.

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