Japanese plutonium

Regarding the Opinion page article "Japan Needs to Change Its Nuclear Course," Nov. 17: Japan's World War II aggression, in large measure, was driven by the desire to secure the oil resources of Asia for its energy-starved economy. Today, Japan is seeking energy independence through more peaceful means - by becoming self-sufficient through breeder reactors, which produce and recycle plutonium.

The author faults the Japanese for pursuing such independence, raising the specter of accidents or diversions that, in reality, have extraordinarily small likelihoods. The material is escorted, safeguarded, and not in a very usable form for weapons. It is the trafficking in real nuclear arms, of which there are tens of thousands, that should occupy the author's interest, not the efforts of a nation to avoid the root causes of war. Theodore Besmann, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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