PM Hatoyama urges greater transparency in Chinese military capabilities; Okada welcomes new US policy of limiting the use of nuclear arms; Approval rating for Hatoyama cabinet falls to 33 per cent; New ‘Stand up Japan’ party formed ahead of July polls;
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  • PM Hatoyama in an interview to Time magazine stated that Japan will continue to urge China to increase transparency about its military capabilities. He added that China's development will also help Japan to grow.1

    Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada meanwhile welcomed the new US policy of limiting the use of nuclear arms, and termed it “a big step toward a world without nuclear weapons." Okada urged other nuclear powers to follow the US lead in not using nuclear arms against non-nuclear countries.2

    A Kyodo News poll showed that the approval rating for PM Hatoyama's Cabinet fell to 33 percent while the disapproval rating topped the 50 percent mark for the first time since he took over power last year.3

    In other domestic developments, former finance minister Kaoru Yosano and four other political veterans launched a new ‘Stand up Japan’ party ahead of polls in July. Former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma will be the head of the new party which consists of former members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which lost its more than 50 year grip on power in the 2009 lower house election.4

    Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone revealed that he had received an explanation about a secret pact made between Japan and the US regarding the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan during his premiership.5

    Foreign Minister Okada told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the plan to relocate the Futenma airfield as agreed in 2006 "would be difficult to realize." He also conveyed PM Hatoyama's determination to settle the issue by the end of May 2010.6

    Okada also met with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle on the sidelines of a Group of Eight foreign ministers' meeting in Canada. Both of them agreed to cooperate for a successful outcome at the upcoming NPT Review Conference in May. The two sides also urged the G-8 to send a "powerful" message to realize a nuclear weapons-free world in support of President Obama.7