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Japan Backs Obama's Call for Nuclear Weapons-Free World

Japan has expressed strong support for U.S. President Barack Obama's call for a "nuclear weapons-free world."

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso told reporters Monday that Mr. Obama's initiative is a good move for a country that possesses nuclear weapons.

Japan, which is the only country that has been bombed with nuclear weapons, has been a strong proponent of nuclear disarmament.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said earlier that Japan also supports the U.S. president's statements on the importance of nuclear non-proliferation.

On Sunday, Mr. Obama urged all countries to join in a common effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons, calling their existence the "most dangerous legacy of the Cold War."

He also called North Korea's missile launch earlier Sunday a violation of international rules. He said the time has come for a strong international response.

Mr. Obama called for agreement on a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia by the end of the year. He also announced plans to push the U.S. Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Mr. Obama also repeated proposals for contacts with Iran on halting its nuclear program, but said the United States will go forward with plans for a missile shield in Europe as long as Iran remains a threat.

He also called for a new international treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, saying any agreement should include China, India and Pakistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.