July 15, 2011 (AFP) spacewar.com
Tokyo The United States is in talks with NATO to remove US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, in a push toward a nuclear-weapons-free world and to cut costs, a Japanese newspaper said Friday.
Washington is talking with other NATO member nations about the withdrawal of all shorter-range, tactical nuclear weapons that have been deployed in Europe since the Cold War era, the influential Asahi Shimbun said.
In-depth discussions will take place in coming months and the talks should conclude by the time Chicago hosts a NATO summit next May, the liberal daily said, citing a senior US official tasked with nuclear disarmament policies.
The talks are being held as part of NATO's Defense and Deterrence Posture Review, said the report filed from the paper's Washington bureau.
The move came as US President Barack Obama wants to negotiate with Russia about reducing tactical nuclear weapons and nuclear stockpiles, following the ratification this year of the US-Russia New START disarmament treaty, it said.
If a complete abolition in Europe is agreed, it could give impetus to US-Russia nuclear disarmament talks, the mass-circulation newspaper said.
Japan is the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Post-war Japan has strongly pushed nuclear non-proliferation efforts, a topic that is closely followed by Japanese media.