Two days before the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima's atomic bombing, Japan's parliament voted Friday to condemn French nuclear test plans in the Pacific and to denounce Chinese nuclear tests as well.
The government has already issued a diplomatic message of protest over the French plan to set off a series of experimental nuclear explosions underneath the French-held Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific.A boycott of French goods has gained widespread support from private groups and some government officials, including Finance Minister Masayoshi Takemura. Their protests have stressed Japan's status as the only country so far to be on the receiving end of a nuclear attack.
Government officials have also traveled to China to express their concerns over nuclear tests there May 15.
But the resolution passed unanimously Friday was the first unified condemnation put forward by all of Japan's main political leaders.
"The fact that France has decided to resume nuclear testing, following China's underground nuclear tests, is an act that destroys the global environment and ecosystem and threatens the existence of humanity," it said.
A worldwide treaty banning nuclear tests is expected to be finalized next year.
Some rough drafts of the resolution reportedly avoided naming countries, apparently fearing parliament members would be unable to agree on clear wording.
But as protests against France by other regional economic powers intensified in recent weeks and it became evident that Japan would not be standing alone, passage became almost inevitable.
Australian protests, official and private, have been particularly strong, and France has withdrawn its ambassador after a French aviation company was barred from bidding on a fighter jet contract.
In the resolution, parliament "opposes nuclear testing by any country in view of the fact that ours is the only nation to experience an atomic bombing.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said Japan would continue pressuring France diplomatically to retract its nuclear test plans.
Kono, fresh from a regional trade summit in Brunei, told a news conference he made Japan's opposition clear there.