JAPAN MAY HAVE NUCLEAR CAPABILITY Japan has all the parts for a nuclear bomb and may have already built one, the London newspaper Sunday Times reported yesterday. Citing a British Defense Ministry report, it said Japan ``has the expertise to go nuclear very quickly.'' The intelligence report emphasizes there is no evidence Japan has abandoned its nonnuclear stance. There was no immediate comment from Tokyo or London. Public opposition to nuclear weapons is deep in Japan, the only nation ever attacked by atomic bombs. Official policy is not to produce, possess, or allow nuclear weapons on Japanese territory. But concerns that North Korea may be building nuclear weapons have some in Japan questioning that policy. In related news, North Korea yesterday denounced US plans to bolster South Korea's missile defenses as a warlike move. Last week, the US announced plans to send Patriot missile batteries to South Korea to help defend the nation against possible North Korean rocket attacks. New Algerian president
Tightening the military's control over the country, Algeria's defense minister, Lamine Zeroual, was named president yesterday by a secretive army-backed committee. He succeeds a military-backed junta that canceled elections and took power two years ago. The three-year presidency is considered necessary to overcome the Muslim insurgency that has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives in the last two years, and to begin to solve the country's economic crisis. Crimean elections
Voters in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula voted yesterday in the final round of presidential elections likely to elect Russian nationalist Yuri Meshkov. Mr. Meshkov pledged during the campaign to separate Crimea from Ukraine and join Russia but has since moderated his stand, saying only that a referendum on the area's status will be held. The campaign has been marked by violence, with six prominent personalities murdered in suspicious circumstances. China bans new construction
Desperately trying to control a building boom that is fueling inflation and diverting money from key state infrastructure projects, China yesterday issued a ban on new construction projects in 1994. The building boom continued last year despite repeated attempts to curb it. Since much of it was funded with private capital or foreign investment, there is doubt that the State Council's order will actually limit the boom. Bank-funded projects are easier for the government to regulate through its control of the banks. Privately funded projects require only the approval of local officials, who may be eager to see a project begin.