Monday, March 24, 2008

Our Nuclear Nightmares Now

The Japan Times has published Brad Glosserman's very competent review of Japan's need for a discussion on nuclear weapons, "Japan Peers into the Abyss", on the opinion page of this morning's print edition.

Unfortunately, The Japan Times has the storage capacity of a thimble, so the above link may soon go dark. The essay will probably be available on a more permanent basis on the Pacific Forum CSIS website later this month.

One of the fun parlor games that Glosserman avoids indulging in is the always amusing, "How long would it take for Japan to become a nuclear power?" Up until a few months ago I had always thought that it would take a number of months or even years for Japan to arm itself with nuclear weapons, based upon the amount of time it would take to perfect an implosion device for a plutonium weapon.

In a humbling exchange on Dr. Jeffrey Lewis' Arms Control Wonk blog, I learned something important that I really should have known: that Japan has 2 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) on its soil, much of it at the Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) reactor in Tokai Mura.

....which is really important to know...because according to slide #12 of this helpful presentation, (thanks Japan Atomic Energy Commission!) 60 kgs of HEU would be sufficient for a simple gun-type fission weapon.

So if the Japanese government, or even a cabal within the Japanese government, felt pressed to respond to the threat posed by the many nuclear weapons states in the area--then with the H2A rockets all ready tested and ready to go, the amount of time required to "go nuclear" would likely be brief.

Insanely brief.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

1) Interesting article. However, given what I know about the relationship between the SDF and the US military, I have a very hard time believing that this would be done without American prompting.

2) Besides, people have repeatedly published claims that the US stores nuclear weapons in Okinawa.(The last time I'm aware of that this came up was in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 2000.) To me, the greater possibility is that the gov't will simply ask the US to place some of its nuclear weapons in Japan and make this publicly known.

3) The gov't publicly stations 'nuclear weapons' in a weak sense (like the George Washington) here anyway.

4.) Finally, check out Immanuel Wallerstein's essay on the NPT regime if you haven't already. His last statement on NPT's ("let us not speak ill of the dead") may say it all.

MTC said...

anonymous -

Just to clarify, you are talking about the SSBN-598 George Washington, not the CVN 73 George Washington, yes?

REM said...

I think that anonymous was in fact referring to the carrier. That's a great example of the terrible conflation of nuclear POWER and nuclear WEAPONS that happens all the time - more in Japan than anywhere else I've ever seen. A light-water nuclear reactor - like the ones used on naval vessels - can never explode. To compare a nuclear-powered naval vessel to a nuclear weapon is like comparing an automobile to a tank full of napalm - they both use gasoline, right?

Anonymous said...

No, I'm talking about the CVN 73, because it is nuclear-propelled. Given how much of Japan's power is nuclear anyway, you could definitely make an argument that opposing it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but many people here in Yokosuka don't want it, and it's the people who are opposed who are pushing the referendum.

There was a piece on the issue in 現代思想 last month.

Anonymous said...

Also, I agree that there are serious differences between nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered craft. I also think that everyone knows that base politics and anti-war politics are complicated, and cannot be reduced to a rational calculus of risk. It's unfair to ask the people who are opposed to the presence of the aircraft carrier to frame their arguments in the same way as an arms control expert would. It's like telling people who oppose revision of article 9 that they are undemocratic because they oppose voting.

Among other things, they do not have that kind of political clout.

Willie said...

This would seem to be a topic that would lead one to ask what the shadow government of Japan wants. With the immense financial resources of the power elite here, I would suspect they could get any kind of deal they wanted from the US to permit or help with a quick build up.

There might have to be some quid pro quo about helping with the US's financial problems, however.

Anonymous said...

I think we all are in agreement that the 'shadow government' has one interest and one interest only, advancing the interests of their secret weapon:

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi_25xRwIp8

Jun Okumura said...

Could you give us the Arms Control Wonkurl for the mention of 2 tons of Tokaimura? The only reference that I’ve able to find for Tokaimura HEU is this, but when you read through, the enriched uranium in question turns out to be only 18.8%, below the 20% threshold. I did find this reference to 1,995 kg of 47% (average) HEU being imported to Japan sometime between 1954-82. I don’t think we hoarded that stuff though.

BTW, you’re half right about the "shadow government", Anon. Reliable sources have sent me this video clip of an experiment conducted by Seiji Maehara and Yukio Edano.

MTC said...

Okumura-san -

1) See slide 8 here

http://www.ipfmlibrary.org/ipfmbriefing071119.pdf

2) see footnote 58 on page 122 of this report

http://www.fissilematerials.org/ipfm/site_down/gfmr07.pdf

Jun Okumura said...

It appears that we are talking about more or less the same HEU (about two tons), some of which may still remain in HEU form. It is reasonable to assume that some of that HEU still remains in Tokaimura, though in what form and what amount is not clear from the linked documents.

Thanks for the clarification.

Willie said...

What's the basis for some of this information on how many kilos of what are available? My personal experience with military matters in the US is that no one involved in projects really believes much of what they are told, and writers at, say, a think tank would have no real way of discerning much.

anon and Okumura-san,

Maybe there isn't a hidden elite, more powerful than the Fukudas and the current US Congress. Still, I'd rather have the Inagawa-kai backing me than Fukuda.

MTC said...

willie -

U.S. transfers of HEU, begun under the "Atoms for Peace" program, are all monitored and recorded by the IAEA to nth degree.

Anonymous said...

the article is silly. add it to the heap of others arguing that maybe, just maybe, sometime in the future japan might, just might, get a nuclear weapon, and then goes on to present NOT ONE IOTA of evidence to show there has been any change whatsoever in the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Sigh.

H2A is a liquid fuel rocket.And you don't used LFR for ICBM since it takes too much time to fill the fuel.Every nuclear state use solid fuel rocket for ICBM.And Japan has technology since the late 70's and nobody said nothing about it.JAXA even stop building M-V,equivalent of H2A of SFR,in 2007.

Let me be devils advocate.
Why is it "Our nuclear nightmare Now"if Japan has nuke?
Afterall,Japan is a free,and liberal democracy and ally of the U.S,whose been practicing pacifism as national policy seemlessly since 1945?

Not that I'm advocating nuclear Japan,but it is undeniable that we are now in a situation of which any normal country would think of the option.No?

Aceface

MTC said...

Aceface -

Until the deployment of the M-V successor, now under development, the HIIA is what Japan has. True, it has a liquid-fueled second stage--but its boosters are solid--meaning that Japan is maintaining its solid-fueled lift manufacturing base even as the M-V booster program has gone into quiescence.

Japan is the linchpin of the global nuclear non-proliferation regimeit. It is the only major nuclear power station nation that is not a member of the nuclear weapons club. Monitoring the Japanese civilian nuclear program--and thus making sure the nuclear program stays civilian--is often claimed to consume half the IAEA's budget.

Were Japan to become a nuclear weapons state, there would be little incentive for anyone else to hold back. The world would in time be awash in "free, liberal, Democratic" nuclear powers.

Hence the title.

Bryce said...

There is still significant feeling about things nuclear in Japan. Remember Kyuma's resignation just last year? So presumably this nuclear weapons programme would need to be conducted in secret, right? And the government would have to figure out how to manufacture a nuclear warhead that fits on the H2. And then they would have to test it. All the while keeping it from the public and the IAEA.

Since 1964, when Japan wowed the world as a modern nation with the Olympics and the PRC demonstrated a nuclear capability, analysts have been predicting that a nuclearised Japan is just around the corner. Trouble is, "in future" anything can happen.

Swap China for North Korea and you have the same dynamic.

Anonymous said...

”Monitoring the Japanese civilian nuclear program--and thus making sure the nuclear program stays civilian--is often claimed to consume half the IAEA's budget.”

Not any more,MTC.
http://www.ask.ne.jp/~hankaku/html/iaea-japan.html

Even IF we would chose to go nuclear,where would you think we can test the thing,Minami-Torishima?


Bryce:
From 田中明彦研究室 データベース「世界と日本」

(日本社会党方中断と中国人民外交学会の共同コミュニケ、1957年)
)とくに核兵器,熱核兵器は製造,保有,使用が禁止されることが必要で,このために米,ソ,英など保有国間で禁止協定が早く結ばれ,その協定が成立するまでは,これら兵器の実験禁止協定が結ばれなければならない。また,実験禁止協定までは実験が禁止されるようあらゆる努力を払わねばならない。原子力の平和的利用は積極的に進めらるべきで,とくに米国における協力が必要である。


(同じく社会党訪中団と中国人民外交学会共同コミュニケ、1963年)
三,双方は次のように認めた。

 世界の平和を確保するためには核兵器の禁止,一切の外国軍事基地の撤廃,全面的軍縮を目ざし,民族民主運動を支持し,国際緊張緩和と平和共存実現のために最大の努力を払わなければならない。特にアジアおよびアメリカを含む太平洋地域に非核武装地帯を設定することがアジアの平和保障にとつてきわめて重要なことである。

Beijing had shrewdly used Japanese anti-nuclear mentality and guilt complex to China to organize and mobilize ragtag band of the Socialist and Asahi,Mainichi,Yomiuri,Iwanami intellectuals,all the union activists and Oe Kenzaburo for anti-nuclear mass movement within Japan while themselves were heading for nuclear state at full speed.And you have big mushroom right in the middle of Tokyo Olympic.

Aceface

MTC said...

Aceface -

One does not have to test a gun-type HEU weapon - everybody knows that it works.

That is what makes everyone so nervous about Iran's Natanz facility.

MTC said...

Aceface -

As for the communiqué you quote, you must admit that 「一切の外国軍事基地の撤廃」is a well-crafted escape clause.

Look at the geopolitical situation from the PRC in 1964. The Americans have a huge number of troops and a large amount of war materiel in Japan. They are using the country as the staging area for the deepening conflict in South Vietnam. It is three years before the declaration of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles (Hikaku San Gensoku) so in theory some of the munitions in Japan are nuclear ones. The Americans are also occupying all of Okinawa and the Bonin Islands; are ensconced in Korea and are based on Taiwan, the sworn allies of Chiang Kaishek's Kuomintang government.

Everywhere the Americans are, there is a good chance of the presence of nuclear munitions or nuclear-tipped missiles, based either on land or on the vessels moving through the theater.

Now, as a Chinese security planner, are you going to just sit on your untested device, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for the Japan Socialist Party to pressure the Americans to close their bases in Japan? Or are you going to increase your security by setting off a nuclear device in a dramatic but safe way--right in the middle of the Olympic Games (which you have not been invited to anyway) because no one is going to start a shooting war in the Far East during the middle of Games being held in Tokyo?

Recall also that the test came after the Sino-Soviet split. At the time the PRC had no allies except Albania and no nuclear umbrella to hide under.

China's actions on October 16, 1964 were, on the whole, pretty well-calibrated and sensible.

Bryce said...

Apart from as a deterent against invasion, does anybody see any utility in an NK nuclear weapon? If that is the case, from a strategic point of view, why would Japan need one of their own?

Anonymous said...

"One does not have to test a gun-type HEU weapon - everybody knows that it works."

We don't know that MTC,and the world won't be sure that you have the bomb if you don't test it.Anyway,so far all the nuclear powers that had existed including Aprtheit era South Africa had tested the device.
And in case of Japan,it can't afford to be a so-called "One bomb country"since Japan is surrounded my the major league of nuclear powers and in need of more concrete nuclear deterrence.

And for your argument about Chinese security planners..

I have no desire to see thorugh their eyes since
a) I'm a Japanese and not Chinese.
and Chinese military build-up is nothing more than a threat to Japan's security

b)And the Mao era military build-up was over-reaction to their security paranoia that cost millions of lives during Great Leap Forward days.So it's against my principles.

"The Americans have a huge number of troops and a large amount of war materiel in Japan. They are using the country as the staging area for the deepening conflict in South Vietnam. "

But you know that was not as big as compare to the days of Korean war nor Japanese Kwantung Army build-up in Manchuria.And U.S forces in Japan had too many operation to do,deter the Soviets and defend Japan,dispatch troops to South East Asia.I don't think Beijing was that serious about American invasion from Japan.

U.S troops in Korea were preoccupied with 38th parrarels.Those in Taiwan were purely defensive and Chiang Kai Shek was simply using "taking-back the mainland" as the slogan to justify his reign over out-numbering Taiwanese population who were not welcoming KMY rule.

As I read the dialogue between Nixon/Kissinger and Mao/Zhuo dialogue Beijing knew all of this and more.

"Or are you going to increase your security by setting off a nuclear device in a dramatic but safe way--right in the middle of the Olympic Games (which you have not been invited to anyway)"

Firstly,China was also invited to games in Tokyo by Japan Olympic Comitee,but Beijing have bailed out from IOC after 1956 Melbourne games,since Taiwan raised the flag of republic of China and boycotted 1960 Rome.

Secondly,the Tokyo olympic was not just a sports game but it was also intentioned as reconcilliation with Asian countries and Japan.The olympic torch was marching all the way from Greece and across Burma,Malysia,Thailand,The Phillipines,Republic of China and American occupied Okinawa.Ofcourse all this is a show,and China has every bit of their rights to brush it off.But then again,their message was clear.History is secondary,real-politics is everything.

And people still ask why Japan is not acting as German in Asia....

"Recall also that the test came after the Sino-Soviet split. At the time the PRC had no allies except Albania and no nuclear umbrella to hide under."

I say blame Mao and his machiavellian politics above of all things.Moscow was nearly begging for Sino-Soviet friendship.

And about Albania...
It was kind of hypocratic for China to condemn Yugoslavia from almost day one of PRC in 1948(Those damn Tito Cliques!) and become the most fierce adversary of Moscow twenty years later.
At least Belgrade tried more of a socialist with human face anmd that was the reason for Soviet-Yugo split as I trust what Milvoan Gilas had wrote,but China splited with Moscow only to continue their own Stalinism.

And that will be my answer for you,Bryce,why Pyongyang wants a nuke desperately.This,I'm entirely relying on the analysis of Andrei Lankov...

Anyway,I don't think China's actions on October 16, 1964 were, on the whole, were not calibrated and insensible,especially for it had postponed the arrival of reform and liberalization for more than a decade and Beijing's action had started the nuclear domino here in Asia...

Aceface

Anonymous said...

I think I've deleted some of my post on Albania-Chinese relation..


Albania and PRC became ally,mainly because of mutual hatred toward Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia since China hated Yugo's split from Cominform and Albania over their dispute in Kosvo.

It was the irony of history when NATO started war over Kosvo in 1999 and China not only started heavy Pro-Milosevic campaign for Kosvo but boosted "historical"Sino-Yugo friendship by organizing film screening of Yugo films and orchestra playing Yugo anthem in Beijing.
And everybody was forgetting it was nobody but the Chinese who stood side by side with Albanians all along.

Aceface

MTC said...

Aceface -

Re: an HEU weapon

A gun-type weapon bringing a sufficient mass of HEU to supercriticality will lead to a nuclear detonation. The physics does not change depending on the passports of the constructors.

Again, it is the simplicity of the gun-type device that gives proliferation experts the heebie jeebies about loose HEU.

Re: Chinese security concerns

If you are a Japanese who is serious about Japan's security, you have an obligation to try to understand the concerns of your neighbors. The goal of a security contest is to come out a winner--not congratulate yourself on the number of points you are scoring against your foes.

I am further perplexed by your pride in having "no desire" to see things through Chinese eyes--as if "desire" had a place in the discussion. Best leave "desire" for love-making and automobile purchases -- it has no use in security thinking.

Re: reconciliation in Asia through the 1964 Olympic Games

What can I say except that the passage of the torch through several Southeast Asian nations in 1964 entirely prevented both the 1972-73 anti-Japanese demonstrations in Thailand and the January 1974 anti-Japanese riots in Indonesia. It furthermore preemptively made superfluous the Fukuda Doctrine of Prime Minister Fukuda Takeo (1976-78).

I could go on but will not.

Bryce said...

Japan has lived with the threat of Chinese nuclear weapons for decades and as far as I can tell, the recent comments about nuclear weapons have been spurned by North Korea's test programme. So I repeat my largely rhetorical question: If NK's nuke is merely for the purposes of deterrence, why does Japan care? A Japanese nuke would not deter a North Korean one in any conceivable scenario where the latter might be used.

Anonymous said...

"A gun-type weapon bringing a sufficient mass of HEU to supercriticality will lead to a nuclear detonation. The physics does not change depending on the passports of the constructors."

Ever heared about "Guns don't kill but humans do"argument?

I'm not exactly an expert on nuclear proliferation,but how do you make of lack of political will nor debate among Japanese for Japan going nuclar?

"The goal of a security contest is to come out a winner--not congratulate yourself on the number of points you are scoring against your foes."

Too true.But scoring against foes counts in international diplomacy.
Anyway we were making discussions.

"If you are a Japanese who is serious about Japan's security, you have an obligation to try to understand the concerns of your neighbors."

Understand,but not agree.
Anyway,our discussion starts from Japanese concerns and not that of Chinese,No?

The point here,MTC,is that I'm always perplexed about foreign people applying high moral standard that can never be out maneuvered when it come to Japanese defense or foreign policy,but always lower the hurdle to that of China.

"Japan is the linchpin of the global nuclear non-proliferation regimeit",you say.But why should Japan be so at the cost of our own national security, if only a few in the region(or world)respect such regimeit in the practice?

If China's decison of choosing Tokyo Olymic for nuclear detonation is"pretty well-calibrated and sensible"to your eyes,why is Japan's(only in the imagination of irresponsible Americans that is)a"Our nuclear nightmare"?

Seems to me a serious moral and political double-standard.


"What can I say except that the passage of the torch through several Southeast Asian nations in 1964 entirely prevented both the 1972-73 anti-Japanese demonstrations in Thailand and the January 1974 anti-Japanese riots in Indonesia."

If my knowledge is accurate the anti-Japanese demonstration in Indonesia and Thailand were due to the concern about Japanese economic domination,not about WW2.

BTW,I've come across to dozens of South East Asians in my life,but only one guy had heard about Fukuda doctrine.

Anyway,Japan's effort is paid by various polls in these countries that is acknowledging Japanese contribution in economic development.


"I am further perplexed by your pride in having "no desire" to see things through Chinese eyes"

Please don't be.
"no desire"
English is my second language as you can easily see from grammatical and spelling mistakes all over.

Aceface

Anonymous said...

Bryce:

My take is the Socialists were politically powerful back then,and most of us were still naive about Asian reconcilliation.

Not anymore.

Back then China's main security concern was the Soviet and their missiles were indeed targeted to Soviet cities.

Not anymore.


Thus China/NK nuke are threat in Japanese perception,So far,Japan choses Missile defense instead of going nuclear and that's all we can do for the moment.
As you have rightly suggested a Pyongyang would not match a Tokyo in nuclear exchange and MAD theory may not be accountable with mad man as the opponent.So Missile defense is not at all bad and while it may not deter nuclear states such as China or Russia,it would certainly deter domestic "nuclear Japan" argument(if there is any) for the moment.

Not so sure whether this is the right thing in longer perspective though.

Aceface

MTC said...

Bryce -

Expansion in the number of nuclear states and/or expansion of the raw politico-military power of nuclear states suppress the allergy against the possession of nuclear weapons in every state --transforming nuclear arms from ultimate threats to human survival to mere sabers to rattle at one's enemies.

Self-righteousness and sophistry take over. Wisdom withers.

Anonymous said...

"Self-righteousness and sophistry take over. Wisdom withers."

But that has always been the rule of the game,No?

If you are referring that Japan is boxed in a prisoner's dilemma sort of situation,that's fine.But then again be prepared for tit for tat in return,since we didn't create this situation nor consulted in advance for the alternative...

Anonymous said...

Anon/Aceface:

I'm a little confused by your logic. You claim that you have no interest in seeing Japan have nuclear weapons, and then you post lots and then play apologist, giving lots of reasons why it would be JUSTIFIED in having them. What is the point of justifying something you don't want to do?

And I think MTC's point is that basing a nuclear weapons regime on national identity is crazy and dangerous, precisely because the effects of nuclear weapons cannot be contained nationally.

Anyway, to be clear, what is your position? Should or should not Japan pursue a nuclear weapons program?

Anonymous said...

"What is the point of justifying something you don't want to do? "

No one wants to kill anybody,but sometimes that's exactly what you have to do to protect yourself and family,basic underlying motif of national defense for any country,Japan included.
If you think that's "playing apologist",fine.

But then again,what is the point of questioning Japan for imaginary potential nuclear armament project coming from whom may not be ill intentioned,but certainly paranoid foreigners while not considering a bit about Japan's security concerns?

Heck,why not vice-versa.Afterall there are no nukes in Japan for a moment and I see no project in sight.Under such circumstances,it is irritating to see my own country degraded as somekind of suspect for potential nuclear proliferation,especially the accusers are from nuclear state.

Why must Japan suffer such "prisoner's dilenma" imposed by existing nuclear states?

Why does Japan has to sacrifice it's alternative energy source simply other nuclear states are suspicious of Japan following their footsteps?


"And I think MTC's point is that basing a nuclear weapons regime on national identity is crazy and dangerous, precisely because the effects of nuclear weapons cannot be contained nationally. "

Then you would agree with me that Japan is surrounded by three of these "dangerous" nations and so far done nothing but preaching Hiroshima experience.

"Self-righteousness and sophistry take over. Wisdom withers"?

You don't seriously mean this is about Japan,is it?

"Anyway, to be clear, what is your position? Should or should not Japan pursue a nuclear weapons program?"

All I can say is I don't want to see nuke being used upon anybody,most above all Japanese,which I happened to be one of.

Japan should not own a nuclear weapon,but we also should not bind future generation of ours, because their security are not guaranteed.
That's my answer to your question.

Aceface

Bryce said...

"No one wants to kill anybody,but sometimes that's exactly what you have to do to protect yourself and family,basic underlying motif of national defense for any country,Japan included."

Errr. The point of deterrence is that nobody gets to kill anybody else. And mutual deterrence works best when you have the ability to completely destroy your enemy. North Korea does not have this capability. Japan and the United States do, even after a hypothetical North Korean nuclear strike on Japan.

If the North Korean regime is rational, there is no need for Japan to develop nuclear weapons to deter NK, as Japan has the conventional force and the American nuclear umbrella and conventional forces to ensure his downfall in the case of a NK nuclear strike on Japan.

If Kim Jong Il is nuts then Japanese nukes won't be of any use either.

I don't think Japan's non-nuclear stance is solely the result of national identity, but also of sound strategic judgment. Ishiba opposes Japanese nuclear armament, and he is hardly a unilateral pacifist.

Anonymous said...

Bryce:

"The point of deterrence is that nobody gets to kill anybody else"

"North Korea does not have this capability. Japan and the United States do, even after a hypothetical North Korean nuclear strike on Japan."

I agree.But you would understand Bryce,to have that deterrence,you have to act the way John Woo movie stars do.(You point the pistol at my forehead,I point mine at yours-kind)
And Japan simply don't have "the pistol" right now in our hands,but North Korea does,along with Russia and China.

Perhaps in the alternate universe GSDF would form expeditionary forces about size of 50000 which is a sizeable force for future humanitarian missions in abroad(Since the current personnels are 155000 and you can't send any more than 30% overseas at once),but still it's away too small to invade a country like North Korea that have more than a million armed personnel.

Today,GSDF has formed Central Readiness Regiment and it's only 700 men.

There has been a talk pf "pre-emptive strikes to NK"at the diet,but it just proved the mission impossible.

That means Japan has no conventional arms to attack NK at present or forseeable future.


"If Kim Jong Il is nuts then Japanese nukes won't be of any use either."

Which is what many here seems to think.but then again,every one seems to forget if NK gets the nuke and it's successor,the Unified Korea would automatically be a nuclear state.The Unified Korea may upgrade and expand it's nuclear arsenal.

"I don't think Japan's non-nuclear stance is solely the result of national identity, but also of sound strategic judgment. Ishiba opposes Japanese nuclear armament, and he is hardly a unilateral pacifist."

I'm skeptic whether this is a product of free-thinking.
It may just be a by-product of environment where constitution that prohibits owning military and forming alliances rules.


Aceface

Bryce said...

"That means Japan has no conventional arms to attack NK at present or forseeable future."

Maybe so, but I don't think the United States is going to sit idly by as Kim attacks a nation where 50,000 odd American troops are stationed.

Japanese nukes would be relatively useless against either the PRC or Russia too. The old strategic depth argument reigns. Unless, of course, Japan was willing to develop some kick-ass SLBMs and invests in the platforms to deliver them. With military budgets declining year by year, I don't see that happening too soon.

One of the reasons I know that Ishiba opposes nukes for Japan, by the way, is that he mentioned his position in an interview where he advocated greater discussion on Japan's nuclear capabilities. In other words, Ishiba thinks that greater discussion would lead Japanese to the "rational" conclusion that nukes would not enhance Japan's security. So he was reacting AGAINST the "environment" of constitutional pacifism by advocating that people see things from a cost benefit point of view rather than an ideological one.

Anonymous said...

Bryce:

Washington may sit idly and watch Pyongyang go nuclear.And we'll be more dependant to Washington,begging them to occupy our territory forever.
That is something we've been doing for 60 years and I have no objection continuing.
However,Washington may have second idea about maintaining 50000personnel in the China's doorstep for various reasons.

The strategic depth argument is a false theory shared by Soviet and the U.S to make others believe only continental nations can possess the bomb.While it is certainly true in many way, that didn't stop France,Israel,South Africa and North Korea to develop one.

French general Piere Gallois,who was the mastermind of French nuclear armament had written "Nuclear strategy and the middle power"I've read the transcript years ago. He was advocating to have the bomb for the sake of the last deadly Parthian shot.

And Japan is an island nation.Having no land borders and surrounded by territorial waters twelve times larger than national territory(would make Japan as the 6th largest nation if the waters were land) o well enough for the subsitute of strategic depth.

It doesn't even take a kick-ass SLBM.Build a large diesel sub with missile silo and navigate underwater of the Seto Inland sea would do fine for the time being.


Ishiba:

True,he may be critical about constitutional restriction of defense argument including nuclear.But he is a politician and some of his predecessors lost their job and political career for a slip of the tongue on this issue.Remember Kyuma Fumio?Nishimura Shingo?Nakanishi Keisuke?

Nuclear armament is not very popular among Japan's defense community,because it would make huge polarization of opinons and paralyze politics.Considering defense community has been spending more time to fight public opinion and consitutional debate to justify their activities than enemies abroad,it is natural for them avoiding nation divide dbate over nuke.And ofcourse America would stand in our way.

Aceface