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Japan Lawmakers Decry China's A-Tests : Asia: Parliament also demands that France cancel its planned nuclear operations in the South Pacific.

August 05, 1995|SAM JAMESON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

TOKYO — The Japanese Parliament unanimously enacted a resolution Friday condemning China's nuclear testing and demanding that France retract its plans to conduct nuclear tests in the South Pacific.

The action came two days before the 50th anniversary of America's dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in World War II. It was part of an extraordinary five-day session of Parliament convened to elect officers for the upper house after an election of half its members.

It was the first time since July, 1973, that Parliament had passed a resolution condemning nuclear testing. That one, like Friday's resolution, named both China and France.

No specific action was threatened against either nuclear power, however. Indeed, the word impermissible was struck from a proposed text when the opposition New Frontier Party pointed out that, if the government truly believed the nuclear tests to be impermissible, it should take strong action against both countries.

Noting that Japan is the only nation to suffer nuclear attacks, the resolution declared that nuclear testing "destroys the global environment and ecosystem and threatens the existence of humanity." Testing by the two nations also "threatens to destroy the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and could adversely affect negotiations to draw up a comprehensive test-ban treaty," it added.

Despite the fact that Japan, which possesses no nuclear weapons itself, depends upon American "nuclear umbrella" protection under the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, the resolution also opposed "the manufacture, testing, storage and use of nuclear weapons by all nations."

Moves toward enacting the resolution were launched in last month's election campaign by both former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, leader of the New Frontier Party, and Finance Minister Masayoshi Takemura, who heads one of the three parties in the coalition of Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.

After China snubbed Murayama's plea, in a May visit to Beijing, not to conduct another nuclear test, Japan announced for the first time that it would reduce its economic aid to China. It still has not spelled out the details of that reduction.

France has said it will conduct its nuclear tests between September and next May.

Forty-seven opposition and ruling coalition legislators from both houses of Parliament signed a statement July 21 urging Japan to join international protests against France, including such moves as boycotting French products and dispatching protest vessels to the French test site.

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So far, however, the only concrete action has been taken by a Tokyo discount chain, Bic Camera, which continues to display such French products as wines, handbags and neckties but is urging customers not to buy them.

Yoshihiro Wakabayashi, a Bic Camera director, said sales of French goods had fallen 50% since the firm started its roundabout boycott at its eight shops July 22. The company has stopped buying French products and will no longer handle French items when the goods in its stores are sold out, he said. The ban will cost the firm about $11 million, or 1% of its annual sales, Wakabayashi said. "But it will help raise our image."

For his part, former Prime Minister Kaifu promised he would no longer buy any of his trademark polka dot neckties from France.

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