(Bloomberg) -- Japan should discuss a possible sharing of nuclear weapons similar to that of NATO members in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday. 

NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements let the U.S. keep its nuclear weapons in Europe under its custody. “Many people in Japan probably don’t know about the system,” Abe said Sunday on a Fuji Television show. 

“Japan should not treat as a taboo discussions on the reality of how the world is kept safe,” said Abe, who oversaw a steady rise in defense spending during his time as premier that ended in 2020.

Abe also said Japan, which had been devastated by atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final stages of World War Two, would have to maintain its goal of abolishing nuclear weapons. Hemmed in by a pacifist constitution it adopted after the war, Japan relies heavily on the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” to deter growing regional threats. 

“It’s important to make progress toward that goal, but when it comes to how to protect the lives of Japanese citizens and the nation, I think we should conduct discussions by taking various options fully into consideration,” Abe said. 


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