Japan to Acquire Nuclear Weapons?
As many readers know, Japan’s post World War II Constitution was a pacifist document, but its provisions have been stretched repeatedly to allow ever-more military power on the part of Japan as post-war conditions changed dramatically. One red-line was that Japan would not become a nuclear power. It now appears that that red-line may be crossed in the near future.
This article, from the South Korean media, indicates that a move is underway in the Japanese Diet to legally permit Japan’s nuclear energy program “to include ‘national security’ among its goals.” That certainly appears to refer to nuclear weaponry without mentioning them directly.
One can hardly blame Japan for feeling a need to go nuclear, given than North Korea’s unpredictable regime (on Japan’s doorstep) already has a nuclear weapons program and Communist China has a sizeable and growing nuclear weapons arsenal. Japan has historically relied on the USA’s nuclear umbrella, but two factors are making the USA’s nuclear and conventional “umbrella” of military protection look increasingly porous. The out-of-control US federal deficit and the automatic defense spending sequestration process now in place locks in large conventional weapons cuts in the US military over the next decade and that makes the assurance of US conventional military protection for Japan look less reliable. President Obama’s periodic calls for extremely severe cuts in the US arsenal of nuclear warheads also makes the US nuclear umbrella look increasingly untrustworthy as well. Both factors are pressuring Japan and other US allies to look to their own resources for their military security. I wonder if Obama realizes that his calls for deep cuts in the USA’s nuclear arsenal automatically create a greater need/incentive for nations previously under the US nuclear umbrella to build their own nuclear warheads.
Personally, I think Japan may be closer to being a nuclear power than most people realize. With over 50 nuclear reactors and the obvious technological skills to build nuclear weapons, Japan could have easily been building all the components for nuclear weapons for years. However, by not fully assembling the individual components together, Japan could truthfully say it did not yet have nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, if this is what Japan has done, it could become a nuclear power within hours simply by assembling the warhead components together. Certainly, the need for Japan to do such a thing has been present for years, but the effort to change the law in the Japanese Diet would give Japan the legal right to assemble the warheads quickly.
My thanks to a friend for sending me this link.
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