Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 122

Russian Boris Yeltsin followed a recent impromptu pledge in Brussels to stop aiming Russian nuclear missiles at NATO countries by saying in Denver over the weekend that he was prepared also to take Japan off the target list. Yeltsin’s press secretary, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, was quick to add that such a decision had not yet been taken "but if the President has said so, then [it] will be taken." For their part, the Japanese might have been more alarmed then reassured. Most did not even know that Russian missiles were pointed at Japan. An unnamed Japanese Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying "the complete meaning of Yeltsin’s reference was unclear to us."

There are a number of obvious potential military targets in Japan that would have been of great concern to the Russians in the past. They include the American airbases on Okinawa and Honshu, and the naval port of Yokosuka, where the American aircraft carrier USS Independence is based. (AP, Russian agencies, June 21)

Favorites Neck-and-Neck in Nizhny Novgorod.