TOKYO—Japanese prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto announced Tuesday that radioactive waste recently discovered in Japan's Nihon prefecture may have contributed to the development of kaiju—translated as "strange, mysterious beast-animal supernatural giant warrior-monsters"—whose many battles have wreaked havoc throughout the Western world and Japan since the late 1950s.

Prime Minister Hashimoto (center) holds an emergency meeting to discuss giant-monster containment strategies.

"We are still continuing our investigation into the source of these radioactive-waste deposits," Hashimoto said. "However, it does appear that there may be a link between this waste and such monsters as Gohidra and King Krusan, who have so often laid waste to our armies and urban areas."

Shortly after completing his statement, the prime minister pointed toward the sky and screamed, "Oh, no—it is Grogan!" before diving headfirst through a plate-glass window, narrowly escaping a 30-foot reptilian claw as it stomped through the roof of the Japanese Parliament, flattening the building.

Despite Hashimoto's acknowledgement of Japan's role in the birth of the monsters, other Japanese leaders denied responsibility, contending that the beasts existed long before the occurrence of any radiation leakage.

"There is a strong misconception that these gigantic creatures of destruction were created or mutated directly as a result of radiation," Japanese Diet member Kentaro Kumagai said. "This is simply not true. These monsters pre-date the atomic age by millions of years. Atomic testing in the Pacific did not create Godjira, as many naive souls would have you believe. The blasts merely awoke Godjira from his eons-long sleep at the bottom of the sea, where he had slumbered for a million years encased in a block of ice."

"Godjira! King of Monsters!" he added.

Fukuoka University physics professor Katsuhiko Ohmori conceded that while Kumagai's theory is plausible, the enormously varied nature of the monsters indicates that, in all likelihood, each one was spawned under different circumstances. Among the situations Ohmori said may be conductive to the creation of giant, terrifying monsters: runaway pollution, cloning experiments gone awry, underwater nuclear testing, and laboratory petri-dish mix-ups.

If found even partially liable for the creation of the enormous, rubbery beasts that have injured thousands and inflicted massive property damage across the Pacific Rim over the past 40 years, Japan could face stiff international penalties. Insurance officials estimate that from 1992 to 1994 alone, over $20 billion in damage was caused by the bomb-force shockwaves created by the flapping motions of Mokira, an awkward, birdlike, beaked monster with an estimated wingspan of 300 feet. Known for her frequent, violent conflicts with other monsters, Mokira wiped out the entire city of Osaka in May 1993 during a fierce battle with Gigantron, a three-headed, 200-foot-tall metallic lobster also known as "Creature Zero."

The city of Sapporo is ravaged by Godjira, king of monsters.

Speaking on Japanese National Radio Monday, national minister of environmental policy Makoto Yamaguchi said: "This nuclear waste cannot be blamed for—aieeeeee! Monsters! Run for your life!" The transmission was then cut off suddenly as the 75-foot-long tail of the Gigantron swept across the Tokyo landscape, devastating the radio tower and countless other structures.

Despite the conflicting reports from Japanese officials—which many observers believe may stem from the mass fleeing and chaos occuring throughout the country—the Clinton Administration is not looking to assign blame for the monsters at this time.

"The dangers of unregulated toxic-waste dumping were made painfully clear to the world in 1972, when, despite the brave efforts of thousands of singing, dancing Japanese teens, the one-eyed giant known as Smoghidra reduced countless city dwellers to mere bones just by flying overhead and spreading its vile fumes," Clinton said.

"If this turns out to be a similar case of cause and effect," Clinton continued, "then the parties responsible must be punished to the fullest extent of international law. However, we must keep an open mind: Let us not forget the many times Godjira and other monsters have protected Earth from such deadly threats as Shikku The Blade-Monster and the invaders from Planet Z. We must not rush to place blame in what is a very complex situation. Remember, Gamuro The Giant Turtle is an internationally recognized friend to children."

The 500-foot-tall superhero Ultra-Man could not be reached for comment, as he was battling the Electroidians in the Galaxy of Hyper-Atom as of press time.