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Russia: Koizumi Calls For Abolition Of Nuclear Weapons

Moscow, 11 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Speaking today in Moscow to an international conference at an atomic-energy research center, Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said all nuclear weapons ought to be abolished. Koizumi said that nuclear technology, which was promised to open the future for humanity was used primarily as a weapon. Japan, the only country ever attacked by nuclear bombs, has decided never to posses, build, or allow them onto its soil.

Koizumi also expressed concern over North Korea's decision to pull out of the global pact limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He said Japan demands that Pyongyang take immediate steps to abandon its program, which is suspected to produce nuclear weapons.

Koizumi today ends his three-day visit to Russia, during which he held talks with President Vladimir Putin and the two signed an action plan to increase cooperation. The two agreed to step up efforts to conclude a peace treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities. The plan stops short of offering new initiatives, however.