people's daily 21 October 1999

Japan's Vice Defense Minister Resigns

Japan Vice Defense Minister Shingo Nishimura Wednesday resigned from his post after receiving strong criticism for suggesting that Japan arm itself with nuclear weapons.

Earlier, Nishimura said in an interview with the Weekly Playboy magazine that Japanese parliament "should consider the fact that Japan may be better off if it arms itself with nuclear weapons."

On Tuesday, the Democratic Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party issued statements accusing Nishimura's remarks of running counter to Japan's policy on nuclear weapons.

Nishimura, a member of the Liberal Party, sparked controversy in 1997 when he made a trip to China's Diaoyudao Islands (known in Japan as Senkaku Islands) in the East China Sea.

Nishimura became vice minister on October 5, 1999 when Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi reshuffled his cabinet to launch a new coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party and the New Komeito Party. (Xinhua)

WorldNews 1999-10-21 Page6

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