Krauthammer on Japan nukes

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When I checked the news sites this morning I noticed that Andrew Sullivan had linked to this clip of Krauthammer calling for Japan to “declare itself a nuclear state” in response to North Korea’s becoming a “nuclear power,” with the comment “yeah, China will go for that.” For me, the bigger question is whether Japan would go for that. Although the possibility of a nuclear-armed Japan is less taboo than it used to be thanks to repeated broaching of the topic by a loose coalition of right-wing political figures, the public at large is still strongly opposed. For example, a public opinion survey conducted in November 2006 shows 14% in favor, 78% against. Those numbers will likely be shown to have changed slightly in the inevitable followup surveys to come within the next week or two, but I would not expect a radical shift.

Incidentally, take note of Krauthammer’s phrasing: “negotiations with the Japanese to encourage them to declare themselves a nuclear power.” He seems to be working under the widely held assumption that Japan already holds all of the technology necessary to build a nuclear bomb (almost certainly true), and had secretly laid all of the necessary groundwork short of the final stops (possibly, but less certain) in such a way that they could have weapons ready within weeks should they suddenly become permissible.

But even if the technology is ready, I just don’t see it happening. Constitutional revision allowing a more conventional military is slowly becoming more and more possible, but decades of anti-nuclear education will not be overturned as easily, whatever the fantasies of American neo-cons.

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55 thoughts on “Krauthammer on Japan nukes”

  1. Krauthammer has been pushing that barrow for ages. Doesn’t mean that it is either desirable to the Japanese people or the United States.

  2. You’re right about Kluthammer.Bryce.
    But I think the condition of what is desirable and undesirable has now changed and in need for inspection.

  3. There’s a good overview of Japan’s history with nuclear weapons here.

    I suspect that regardless of Japan’s domestic capabilities, they would have the much easier option of simply letting the US station nukes at its Japanese bases.

    Globalsecurity.org is awesome, by the way. They have even assessed how Japanese rockets would convert to ICBMs, just in case Japan ever wants to obliterate Moscow.

  4. This guy doesnt seem to have the slightest sensitivity to the implications of what he is saying. Its as if he really thinks Japan is just a gamepiece on a Risk board. And forgive my naivite but I dont see what makes Japan having nukes so much different from the US having a nuclear umbrella. Does he expect that Japanese implied threats will sound more credible than American ones?

  5. “Its as if he really thinks Japan is just a gamepiece on a Risk board. ”

    But hey,So are A LOT of Americans.

    “but I dont see what makes Japan having nukes so much different from the US having a nuclear umbrella”

    Big.We can decide our own fate.

  6. To second Aceface, Japan having nukes vs. the US nuclear umbrella can really only be considered fully equivalent if you think about foreign/military policy in Risk-esque terms, where allies operated entirely in sync as if they were all controlled by a single game-player.

  7. And to second Roy,that isn’t happening.

    Obama has more important thing to than North Korea and that is to fight a war in Afghanistan,something we don’t give a rats ass about.
    The most frightening thing is neither Sullivan(or Stephen Walt,who’s also been linked in Sulllivan’s blog)care less about Japan.What Sullivan has in mind is what China thinks.Walt simply wants to outsource this issue to the “interested parties”
    as if America isn’t one of them and thinks China should rule the game which is not what we are expecting from our allies.
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/05/this-is-only-a-test.html

    The latest ongoing only revelaed not just Washington and Tokyo lacks common value to sustain the alliance,but also lacking common interest.Alliance thrives only because Tokyo blindly obeys Washington.

    Expect the era of G2 and the death of the U.S-Japan alliance during Obama years.

  8. The question of whether Japan would go for it is exactly right. At the moment constitutional change is entirely unlikely to occur, but the most ardent defenders of the “peace constitution” are seniors who remember the 2nd world war and its aftermath. With them dieing out over the next 10 years or so (and with an increasing nationalist stranglehold over Education policies – particularly in key subjects as “social studies” where history is taught) I am certain that we will see a drastic change in attitude.

  9. “with an increasing nationalist stranglehold over Education policies – particularly in key subjects as “social studies” where history is taught”

    There is no such trend.And if there ever was we would surely have a huge extravaganza.

    Constituion has little to do with nuclear armament.Japanese government has repeatedly claimed constitution does not prohibit Japan to have nuke for defensive reason.What is so called nuclear policy based on three principles are commitment claimed by PM Sato Eisaku back in 1967 and has been inherited by the following adminstration.There is no legal nor constitutional restriction attached to it.

    Anyway,history and nationalism has little to do with the argument as the critics wants to label this.Purely a necessity coming from changing strategic landscape demand the argument.

  10. Given that the US would nuke North Korea if they ever nuked Japan (and don’t doubt that they would), the only benefit that Japan would get if they got nukes would be two options: 1) ending the alliance with the US or 2) nuking someone preemptively. I have better things to do than argue against nuclear first strikes, but 1…

    If China keeps supporting North Korea, Japan cannot end the alliance with the US. Japan alone could win a war against North Korea of course, but not against China and North Korea. Here are some theoretical alliances, sans US:
    A) Japan, South Korea, Taiwan
    B) Japan, India
    C) Japan, Russia, Vietnam
    D) Japan, India, Russia, Vietnam
    Alliance A 1) wouldn’t defeat China and 2) is unlikely since South Korea and Taiwan are also unlikely to ditch the US. Alliance B might be able to defeat China but India has generally been uninterested in alliances of this nature. Alliance C is 1) unlikely because Russia and Japan still do not get along and 2) might not defeat China anyway. Alliance D would probably defeat China but is even more unlikely, for the same reasons as B and C.

    But perhaps you’re thinking that Japan can just go it alone, as long as they can nuke anyone that crosses the line. The problem is, all the countries that Japan “borders on” – South Korea, North Korea, Russia, China, Taiwan – are either nuclear powers themselves, or allied with nuclear powers. So you can’t really nuke anyone, unless you want to get nuked yourself. Bottom line is, the alliance between the US and Japan can’t end before the alliance between North Korea and China ends.

    So even if nuclear weapons weren’t overwhelming unpopular in Japan… what’s the point? Americans that suggest Japan get nukes are simply not thinking things through at all. Japanese that suggest Japan get nukes are blowing the kidnapping issue out of proportion (easy to do when you’re in Japan, I understand that), imagining that the US doesn’t care about Japan… and also not thinking things through.

    Our only option is to hope that China wises up and stops cutting North Korea so much slack. But maybe that wouldn’t even work…

  11. ” the only benefit that Japan would get if they got nukes would be two options: 1) ending the alliance with the US or 2) nuking someone preemptively. I have better things to do than argue against nuclear first strikes,”

    1)Washington already has five nuclear allies.If they see Tokyo as an excetion,then Japanese shouldn’t trust Americans at all.

    2)As you had rightly said” So you can’t really nuke anyone, unless you want to get nuked yourself.”The reason of having a nuke is not to let someone use it upon you.Not you use it upon others preemtively.

    “Japanese that suggest Japan get nukes are blowing the kidnapping issue out of proportion”

    But what if kidnappers gets the nukes and threat you and no one can do nothing about it?I don’t think anyone is blowing the issue out of proportion.

  12. “1)Washington already has five nuclear allies.If they see Tokyo as an excetion,then Japanese shouldn’t trust Americans at all.”

    Does anyone really think that the US today cares much if Japan has nukes or not? The opposition is in Japan itself and in neighboring Asian countries, both sides due to memories of WW2.

  13. Still don’t understand what is the profit for Japan to going nuclear. Slamming head to head with China (and probably with Unified Korea) having nuclear weapon in your hands?

    Even if it is humiliating to work with an ally who has not much understanding about East Asia, who is sometimes arrogant and worse not sensitive enough about his own ally, but still is it not better to try the US engaged in East Asian affairs, a “third person” if you like, rather than slamming head directly?

    Yeah Obama administration will probably negotiate and talk directly to China, and handle Japan as a place which is located on their east side of the American continet sometimes, but I don’t trust the outcome of a chickenrace between China, Korea and Japan.

  14. Let’s face it.nuclear weapon is now a commodity in Asia.Having one isn’t committing an ultimate crime.Tomojiro.

    No.Slamming head to head with China isn’t the objective.The objective is to have insulance if China(or Unified Korea or Russia for that matter)wants head to head with Japan.Or at least make them believe the cost could be higher than they imagine.In another word,we play their games with their rules.Not the rules they think we should incline to.

    Having American engaged in East Asian affair is fine.Cooperating with them even better.But why depend everything on their hands?Why not we have alternatives?
    America has alternatives apart from existing US-Japan alliance to protect their security and interest in the region.Japan needs to hedge the abandonment or being forced to engage in the battle that we don’t wish to be in return of seemingly empty promise of protection.

  15. >Does anyone really think that the US today cares much if Japan has nukes or not?

    Given that Obama has stated that one of his goals is a robust disarmament regime that actually succeeds in its goals (y’know, like disarmament – not “Reagan disarmament”), I’d say he does care. I went to this seminar yesterday. The speakers, who have all advised the Obama administration, or the president himself, weren’t necessarily “Japan experts”, but they were pretty wary about the possibility of Japan deciding to go nuclear.

  16. well Aceface, 自存自衛was always a beautiful word, now an then.

    I understand the big attractiveness to go 自存自衛、BUT isn’t it a bit early to rely on such somewhat pessimistic slogan?

    Going nuclear is not having an alternative in my opinion, it means almost saying to the US “you don’t have to care about us” or “ you don’t have to care about east Asia, we will care about it” and that is, IMHO, exactly what some in the Republican party, and probably also in the democratic party wants to hear.

    In my opinion, although the situation seems to be desperate, owing much to US selfish diplomacy (Well, who can actually criticize them for that…) and the ineffectiveness of Nippon’s diplomacy and military politics, we should try to prevent what happened with the abolishment of the Japanese-Britain alliance 100 years ago.

    That was also not entirely Japan’s fault but rather ignorance of the Western nations what this meant to the security of East Asia and what this could mean for the unstable status of Japan (The outcome is off course, primary Japan’s fault) .

    Japan should trying to build some international framework for East Asian affairs, and I am not naïve to believe in an East Asian Common House, but exactly because of that Japan should try to keep US engage in East Asian affairs, even if it seems humiliating for now.

    Step by Step, I think amendment of article 9 and 集団自衛権 is the first, however boring it might be, and having the right of 先制攻撃 is the next, with the cooperation of the US policy, however tiresome it may be. Going nuclear is the last mean and I still don’ think that we are far that now.

  17. You mean自主防衛?I’m not saying Americans to back off.They are always welcome.
    I want alliance AND deterence for Japan.Is it too much to ask for both?

    I think core of defense policy is to be ready for the worst and hope for the best.Under this logic,nuclearization clearly serves national interest precisely because they leave alternative in security strategy.It’s already proven by eight nations in the world.I don’t believe that can’t be applied to Japan because we are so unique and different from others.

    “Going nuclear is not having an alternative in my opinion, it means almost saying to the US “you don’t have to care about us” or “ you don’t have to care about east Asia, we will care about it” and that is, IMHO”

    First off,America can still use bases in Japan as long as they serve Japanese national interest.America needs some of those bases purely for the power projection purposes.(If not,then it’s time for them to pack up and go home)

    Secondly.America will engage with East Asia whether Japan wants them or not.Anyway,rejecting America from Asia could be China’s interest,but isn’t Japan’s interest nor objective.

    “Japan should trying to build some international framework for East Asian affairs”

    No.I think it’s the job for the Chinese.

    “Step by Step, I think amendment of article 9 and 集団自衛権 is the first, however boring it might be, and having the right of 先制攻撃 is the next, with the cooperation of the US policy, however tiresome it may be. Going nuclear is the last mean and I still don’ think that we are far that now.”

    I don’t feel the need for changing constitution since almost anything can be done under it.The reason for the revision is strictly for the need to cooperate with Americans.Chnaging constitution we lose basis of rejecting their request.

    先制攻撃is out of question.Not only it violates the international law,our potential adversary are all nuclear armed.Having nuclear weapon is to prevent any kind of preemtive strikes from one side to another.

    @Bryce
    “but they were pretty wary about the possibility of Japan deciding to go nuclear.”

    And what did they say about Washington may being able to fulfill the commitment on defending Japan?

  18. “I think core of defense policy is to be ready for the worst and hope for the best.”

    Sure, but in doing so, you shouldn’t create an even worse situation.

    If the United States sits idly by while Japan pulls out of its obligations under the NPT and develops its own nuclear deterrent, then both nations will have acted to weaken the non-proliferation regime. Even more chilling, by demonstrating that you are now “allowed” to have nuclear weapons, the United States will have practically no moral leg to stand on when rogue states (and in response, “good” states) start withdrawing from the NPT and developing their own nuclear weapons. And then you end up with a much more dangerous scenario than Japan having to rely on a fairly strong American nuclear umbrella. You have a number of different world leaders with their fingers on the nuclear button and certain states like North Korea willing to sell them fissile material, and even fully developed weapons.

    And let’s face it, that is what this is all probably about in the end. North Korea already has a very robust deterrent. Namely, it has a whole load of very big (conventional) guns pointed at Seoul’s forehead. This is the ultimate reason why America will not bomb its missiles or its nuclear facilities (besides the fact that it is not sure where the bombs are), and it damned well is not going to let Japan do anything silly (and frankly, illegal and immoral) like launch a preemptive strike on North Korea. It’s also unlikely that the Norks can develop a warhead that can sit on a Nodong, survive all the pressures that is put on it, and deliver a nuclear payload to Japan, even if it does get past all the fancy missile defence technology that may or may not work.

    Thus, the nuclear test is more than likely about demonstrating P’yongyang’s ability to make weapons so that it can sell them to interested parties, thus generating revenue to invest in its infrastructure without foreign interference, a longstanding and ongoing goal, or as they like to call it there, Juche!. That’s what its missile program Link seems to be about. And that’s why it sees South Korean participation in the PSI as an “act of war”

    So in addition to delinking Japan from the alliance, which the article I just cited states is one of North Korea’s goals, Japan’s hypothetical development of a nuclear weapons program would also legitimise North Korean sales of nuclear weapons (if Japan can have one, why can’t everyone else?), while bolstering the North Korean economy and increasing the chances of a nuclear strike somewhere in the world.

    Japan 0, North Korea 3, World -1.

    So if Korea’s delivery options are limited, it is better for Japanese planners to do what they already probably are: strengthen Japan’s ability to monitor and intercept North Korean ships if they are suspected of carrying nuclear material. And just prevent all North Korean ships and planes from getting anywhere near Japanese airspace or territorial waters full stop.

  19. “If the United States sits idly by while Japan pulls out of its obligations under the NPT and develops its own nuclear deterrent, then both nations will have acted to weaken the non-proliferation regime. ”

    We did just that by allowing Indians(and Pakistanis) to settle the nuclear deal.

    “Even more chilling, by demonstrating that you are now “allowed” to have nuclear weapons, the United States will have practically no moral leg to stand on when rogue states (and in response, “good” states) start withdrawing from the NPT and developing their own nuclear weapons. ”

    One:
    The U.S never had the moral leg to stand on.NPT is the treaty that treats those who have over have-nots.And the U.S never cared about strengthening own nuclear arsenal when they find it necessary.

    two:
    We just saw NK getting nuke.Iran will have one within years.I think most of the rogues would get what they want anyway.

    “And then you end up with a much more dangerous scenario than Japan having to rely on a fairly strong American nuclear umbrella.”

    Not sure American umbrella,strong.Wondering whether it’s there when we need them.Anyway,we are already in the middle of “dangerous”scenario already.
    Some rogue in the other end of the world obtaining nuke isn’t our concern when everyone around you have one.


    And let’s face it, that is what this is all probably about in the end. North Korea already has a very robust deterrent. Namely, it has a whole load of very big (conventional) guns pointed at Seoul’s forehead. ”

    Which is too bad for South Korean.Glad we are not their allies.Personally Seoul should have concentrated more on empowering their surface to surface attack capability to silence the NK artillery lining up in 38th parallel.But they insisted on preparing for imaginary Japanese invasions by buying useless ships and aircrafts.

    “It’s also unlikely that the Norks can develop a warhead that can sit on a Nodong, survive all the pressures that is put on it, and deliver a nuclear payload to Japan, even if it does get past all the fancy missile defence technology that may or may not work.”

    Even if North Korea can not,China can.So can Russia.And we are in their range.

    “Japan’s hypothetical development of a nuclear weapons program would also legitimise North Korean sales of nuclear weapons (if Japan can have one, why can’t everyone else?), while bolstering the North Korean economy and increasing the chances of a nuclear strike somewhere in the world.”

    I had this hypothetical argument with one of my colleague on how to make our relation with North,a win-win in think-the-unthinkable style.
    We came out with the conclusion that we should buy a nuke from North Korea.
    We both have renewed ties,North gets money and we gets nuke.we both have deterence with each other and more policy independence from Washington-Beijing axis.
    Japan 3,North Korea 3.A win-win.

  20. “We did just that by allowing Indians(and Pakistanis) to settle the nuclear deal.”

    No. Neither India nor Pakistan are, or ever were, signatories to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

    Letting states that did not agree to restrictions on nuclear development proceed with a weapons programme is one thing. Standing by while an ally that has agreed not to develop them proceed with development is another, and sends very dangerous signals to the international community about the credibility of the regime.

    “The U.S never had the moral leg to stand on.”

    Quite, but the NPT provided the framework after the cold war for a push towards disarmament. The U.S. has dismantled more than 10,000 nuclear weapons since 1988 according to the provisions of the treaty.

    “We just saw NK getting nuke.Iran will have one within years.I think most of the rogues would get what they want anyway.”

    North Korea has followed the basic procedure to exit the NPT regime. It announced its intent, waited three months and then withdrew. And yeah, Japan could too, given the circumstances. But the withdrawal of a rogue state is different in terms of thhe credibility of a regime than the withdrawal of a responsible one with the blessing of the world’s policeman. And the regime has worked to restrict states that have attempted non-compliance: Libya, for one, was embarressed into compliance when inspections revealed a secret nuclear programme.

    “Even if North Korea can not,China can.So can Russia.And we are in their range.”

    So every state in the range of Russia and China that can, should develop a nuclear weapon?

    “We came out with the conclusion that we should buy a nuke from North Korea.”

    Hah!

  21. While we’re being hypothetical, referring to Adam’s post just after this one, what would the implications be of a 9-11 “truther” becoming the PM of Japan be for the Japan/US alliance? Do you think that someone who attributes so much conspiracising to the US government would actually trust them enough to rely on them for his own country’s national security?

  22. Bugger.

    My lengthy reply to Ace vanished.

    Anyway, it went something like this.

    1) India and Pakistan never signed the NPT, so they are not part of the non-proliferation regime, hence their development of nuclear weapons doesn’t weaken it, unless you subscribe to a vague theory about tipping points and the law of the majority being the law of all.

    2) North Korea withdrawing from the NPT (which they did citing proper procedure, by the way) does not weaken the non-proliferation regime as much as a nation like Japan withdrawing from the regime with the good wishes and even the encouragement of the one nation that, if somewhere push came to shove, may need to enforce it.

    3) True, America has sometimes floated the provisions, but it has disabled 13,000 nukes since the end of the cold war. And it did so under the provisions of the NPT.

    4) The NPT is not just a paper tiger; Libya backed away from its nuclear program when it was caught red handed trying to develop a nuclear program outside of the NPT provisions; Iran has not really done anything to break the provisions (yet) and a change in its leadership may yield leaders who are not committed to showing the west how loosely they can interpret the law.

    5) Whatever we think, we can probably both agree that a calculation of whether Japan should have nuclear weapons or not should not be based largely on whether it is in American interests to do so, a la Krauthammer. Japan is not a “card”.

  23. The next Seijigiri – maybe out tomorrow – deals with this. It’s simply not going to happen and this guy is just wasting his breath.

    What Bryce said in #5 above.

  24. “Do you think that someone who attributes so much conspiracising to the US government would actually trust them enough to rely on them for his own country’s national security?”

    Obviously. According to the conspiracy theorists, 9/11 was about creating the rationale for an American Empire demonstrated by its pre-emptive attacks on Iraq. So their logic would follow that as Japan, Europe and Australia are neo-imperial outposts of the United States, Washington would be more committed to protecting their security and staving off both their enemies and their independence.

    Whether such conspiracy theorists would find solace in this conclusion is another matter.

    Of course, I don’t think Hatoyama believes this.

  25. @Bryce

    1)India and Pakistan never signed NPT。

    True.But the U.S did.
    Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Article 1 sez.

    “Each nuclear-weapons state (NWS) undertakes not to transfer, to any recipient, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices, and not to assist any non-nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.”

    From Council on Foreign Relation “The U.S-India Nuclear Deal”sez
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/9663/#2
    “What kind of technology would India receive in return?
    India would be eligible to buy U.S. dual-use nuclear technology, including materials and equipment that could be used to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium, potentially creating the material for nuclear bombs. It would also receive imported fuel for its nuclear reactors.”

    Clear violation of NPT to my eyes.

    2)North Korea doesn’t matter.Japan does.
     Also True.But there’s no legal penalty for withdrawing from the treaty.

    3)America disabled 130,00 nukes under NPT provision.
    OK,but that’s not good enough.What about the other four?
    Article six of NPT sez
    ” The states undertake to pursue “negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”, and towards a “Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.

    4)NPT isn’t a paper tiger,Look at Libya.
    NPT is a paper tiger.But the joint diplomatic pressure coming from the U.S,UK and France in relate with PAN AM and UTA flight bombing and economic sanctions worked.Quadaffi backed down only because he got whipped first.Something Tokyo had originally intended along with Washington and Seoul which failed miserably thanks to Chirstopher Hill.

    5)The big factor will be American judgement.

    That I agree.But take a look at from different perspective.What does it take for Washington to stop Japan with the will?
    All we need to do is go back to where we started.But still we can damage both NPT and American global leadership in nuclear proliferation by simply challenging.NPT members probably don’t want any restrictive measures attached to the treaty or nuclear state use them to legitimize the sanctions.Japan won’t lose anything since we don’t have any status to lose.
    Only China and Russia would increase it’s influence in the region by gaining from the U.S-Japan split.Isn’t it wise from realpolitik perspective to have stronger ally,instead of clicking to already dysfunctional international scheme?

    ”So every state in the range of Russia and China that can, should develop a nuclear weapon?”

    I don’t think Mongolia will go for a nuke in the near future.So,the answer is No.But then,why should I have the answer?

  26. Frankly I’m more convinced by the cynical analysis that Libya’s nuclear weapons program just wasn’t going well and was costing them so much money that they decided it was a better deal to just accept the bribes being offered to shut it down, and pretend it was the result of all of those factors that diplomats were so self-congratulatory about.

  27. “Each nuclear-weapons state (NWS) undertakes not to transfer, to any recipient, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices, and not to assist any non-nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.”

    Its a matter of definition. The U.S. would argue that it has not directly “assisted” India in its nuclear program, given that the technology is dual use and also given that the deal that was struck was one which ultimately brought IAEA inspectors in to monitor the use of the supplied materials, bringing India, if anything, closer to the non-proliferation regime.

    “Quadaffi backed down only because he got whipped first.”

    Maybe so, but the fact that he was in violation of the treaty gave the international community something to criticise. If there was no NP regime, there would be no basis for “whipping” him a second time.

    “OK,but that’s not good enough.What about the other four?”

    Yes, good question.

  28. Oh and by the way:

    “and not to assist any *non-nuclear weapon state* to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.”

    Only “nuclear weapon states” (those who exploded a nuclear weapon before 1967) are defined in the treaty. The treaty talks of non-nuclear weapon state parties to the treaty and non-nuclear weapon states, but it doesn’t define either term. It is pretty clear that India and Pakistan etc are not “nuclear weapons states under the terms of the treaty”, but it is also pretty clear that they are neither “non-nuclear weapon state parties to the treaty” or simply “non-nuclear weapon states”. So some have argued that now they have nuclear weapons they fall into some unstated fourth category and therefore the provision at the beginning of this post does not apply.

  29. But how about “to any recipient” part,Bryce? Both India and Pakistan fits as “recipient”.

    The whole point is NPT has VERY loose or almost no restriction to the “nuclear weapon states” or those who are willing to be “nuclear weapon states.” It only benefits the nuclear states defined in the treaty which also happens to be the permanent member of the UNSC.So that they can use the NPT violation as issue there.However,as you may know,UNSC has been paralyzed in dealing the matter of North Korea and Iran for numbers of reason which means they are not effective organ in fixing the NPT scheme.Ofcourse,China and Russia would act almost instantly on occasion of Japanese nuclear armament against their usual trait.

    We just have to agree and disagree about Libyans.But I also have to remind you that both the U.S and UK had launched assasination plot against Quadaffi by bombing his residence in Tripoli in’86.(PAN AM flight bombing was the reteriation)

    I have to sustain my coming up long post,what would happen if Japan DON’T get a nuke.Not that I’m saying we are going to have a war anytime soon or something,but we will see huge long term trend in political deterioration in East Asia have we see the day of Pax Sinica.

  30. M-Bone told me he doesn’t have Internet where he’s staying right now, so we won’t be seeing him around much for a few more weeks.

  31. “But how about “to any recipient” part,Bryce”

    NPT: “not to transfer, to any recipient, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices

    The United States has not transferred nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices in this case, Ace. The relevant body that applies to the transfer of dual-use technologies from the United States is the Nuclear Suppliers Group. It has less to do with the NPT.

  32. OK,then I just shift onto “not to assist ANY non-nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.”part.
    And NO.I don’t agree with “peaceful use of nuclear energy”thing.Afterall,they have conducted nuclear test more than once.

    NPT is basically a tatemae thing.It can’t stop nuclear proliferation nor designed to be so.Something Tokyo has been telling to the member states for years.

    And I also want to shift the argument to “what-if” Japan doesn’t acquire a nuke.
    My lengthy post on survival of Japanese democracy seems lost in spam filter.

    But my points are

    1)Emerging East Asian order would be built and managed by China of which is not a democracy nor will it be in the foreseeable future.

    2)There are no new democracy born in the region in the past decade after Indonesia in 1999 and other Asian democracies had stopped evolving or worse,retreating.(Hong Kong,Thailand,Taiwan,South Korea and the Philippines)
    Rise of China would probably accelerate this trend.

    3)The tie that bounded the so-called the west(The U.S,Japan and EU)politically had fell apart after the Soviet collapse.Even economically it had changed since Bill Clinton had allowed to let Russia into the Summit and Bush made it into G20.
    Resulted bigger Chinese influence globally and Japan being cut off or marginalized from grand alliance of the democracies.

    4)Japan failed to place itself into UNSC,where will be dominated by China with veto.

    All of these will make Japan marginalized by the rise of China.So one might think,as Tomojito does,to build regional security flame work that can bind China and protect Japan at the same time.However,I see very little chance of such regional security flame work of which Tokyo can rely onto would develop in East Asia.Because.

    1)We don’t have proper diplomatic relation with two member states in the region.
    North Korea and Taiwan.

    2)Japan doesn’t have peace treaty with Russia

    3)Japan is the only nation in the region which has territorial disputes with every neighbor that surrounds her

    4)Japan would be the only non-nuclear state in the region,if Unified Korea would inherit the NK’s nuke.

    5)Russia and China are members of the UN security council with veto.Meaning they cannot be tied down to the treaty as equals.

    Having a nuke won’t solve all of the problem.But nontheless would be an asset for Japan to survive in Post-American hegemony-East Asia.

  33. “My lengthy post on survival of Japanese democracy seems lost in spam filter.”

    I checked the spam folder and don’t see it in there. Maybe there was an error when you hit send?

  34. “3)Japan is the only nation in the region which has territorial disputes with every neighbor that surrounds her”

    I’d say Taiwan does also. They have disputes over tiny islands with Japan and the Philippines, and all of Taiwan is one big territorial dispute with China.

  35. Ah.But,Taiwan isn’t considered as “Nation” by any of the members in the region.

  36. “Your opinion.M-Bone?”

    Wish that I had time to write 3000 words on this but I don’t even have enough time to read the whole thread (which looks great) so just a comment or two.

    The Japanese left has relied too much on the idea that “Japanese were evil during the war so Japanese can turn evil at any time so should not have nukes.” This won’t cut it any more and Japanese lefties have to start coming up with compelling new reasons why Japan should not go nuclear to respond to recent pressures.

    The Japanese left has to realize that by not having nukes, Japan is pretty much left on the outside in any discussion of disarmament.

    Discussions seem destined to go like this –
    Japan – Hey China, nukes are a threat to all humanity, we should all disarm and get along!
    China – No.

    So Japanese lefties have to find some way to deal with the fact that unilaterally deciding to not have nuclear weapons leaves Japan out of disarmament discussions and eliminates the potential to play a positive role. An alternative way to contribute to a disarmament process must be sought if that is to be Japan’s course. All of those letters from Hiroshima and Nagasaki mayors may make great reading for peaceniks like me, but it is time to try something new.

    Finally, I favor a wait and see approach to Chinese hegemony in East Asia. Japan going nuclear soon would no doubt cause major tension (and that would be hypocritical on China’s part as China is nuclear armed) and would derail any chance to significantly improve Japan-China ties or to see the integration of NK into some kind of reasonable regional order. Nukes could significantly decrease Japan’s security and I think that other possibilities should be exhausted before going down that road.

    In any case, Japan has to stop letting the US decide what goes where on the Risk board and pursue a new direction. I favor trying seriously to build some kind of profitable partnership with China (but preparing for the possibility that this may not be possible). Six or seven years ago, when the Hummer was all that, who could have predicted bankruptcies of American automakers? China’s future is hard to read. It may be a second rate “factory of the world” in 10 years while Japan surges. There could be a real move toward political liberalization. China could be counter-balanced by an Indo-Japanese defence pact. Since we don’t know, I always favor working toward the best while preparing for the worst.

    In the end, however, I’d rather see a nuclear armed Japan than Japanese boots on the ground in Iran or somewhere doing harm and contributing nothing to Japan’s national interest.

  37. “what would the implications be of a 9-11 “truther” becoming the PM of Japan be for the Japan/US alliance?”

    I think that in Japan, people consume these sorts of ideas as a form of pop culture entertainment. It won’t have any impact on real world politics. It is kind like someone reading the DaVinci Code (which is deep down a story about how the Bible is silly and that it should be replaced by… an even more silly story), buying into it, and still going to church every Sunday.

  38. >OK,then I just shift onto “not to assist ANY non-nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.”part.

    In what way is India, a nation with nuclear weapons when the U.S decided to assist them, and a non-party to the NPT, a non-nuclear weapons state?

    >And NO.I don’t agree with “peaceful use of nuclear energy”thing.Afterall,they have conducted nuclear test more than once.

    You don’t have to “agree” with me that India’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful, because I don’t think I implied that. But the U.S. deal, which was signed off by the United States and the NSG–including rabidly anti-nuclear nations like New Zealand (under a rabidly anti-nuclear government) because it bound India to submit to future IAEA inspections. If there is any monkey business then the suppliers deal is off. India has a bigger incentive to stick with the program than to reject it.

  39. @Bryce.

    “In what way is India, a nation with nuclear weapons when the U.S decided to assist them, and a non-party to the NPT, a non-nuclear weapons state?”

    The fact that India(and Pakistan)being non-party to the NPT.
    So far NPT is the only judical body to recognize the status between “nuclear state” and “non-nuclear state”.India and Pakistan didn’t join NPT precisely for this reason.Since they don’t recognize the authority of NPT,NPT memebers should not recognize Indian/Pakistani status that they want to be recognized.

    “But the U.S. deal, which was signed off by the United States and the NSG—including rabidly anti-nuclear nations like New Zealand (under a rabidly anti-nuclear government) because it bound India to submit to future IAEA inspections.”

    Which was a stupid move.We(Japan included)shouldn’t have done this at the cost of weakening NPT.Very little gain from IAEA’s Indian inspections since they only go to the non-military facilities.Again we followed Washington’s short sighted initiative.

    And are you sure that the U.S isn’t giving out “nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices”,Bryce?
    Since there is no way to find this out from third party like IAEA,we can’t say anything concrete.But it is pretty rational to suspect that Washington may have offered both New Delhi and Islamabad “explosive devices” for the safty measures in return of checking the security status of their nuclear arsenals…..

    I’ll get back at M-Bone,later.

  40. “Ah.But,Taiwan isn’t considered as “Nation” by any of the members in the region.”

    Arguably Taiwan could be called a “nation” or “country”, but not a “state”, or something like that. What exactly Taiwan is could, and does, fill entire bookshelves. But that’s pretty irrelevant to the point you were trying to make, that Japan is potentially insecure due to border conflicts. Japan does have some things to worry about in that regard, but not more than Taiwan.

    In the same comment you actually referred to Taiwan as a “member states in the region” so you are contradicting yourself a bit…

    M-bone: “The Japanese left has to realize that by not having nukes, Japan is pretty much left on the outside in any discussion of disarmament.”

    So you arguing that to be involved in discussions over nuclear disarmament Japan needs to first acquire nuclear weapons so that they then have a chip to bargain away? In an abstract game-theory way it does make a kind of sense, but as an actual negotiation tactic it sounds kind of schizophrenic, particularly if nuclear disarmament is the real goal.

  41. “but not a “state””.

    Well,Taiwan has a state.Republic of China,that is.But it’s not being recoginzied by everyone.

    “In an abstract game-theory way it does make a kind of sense, but as an actual negotiation tactic it sounds kind of schizophrenic, particularly if nuclear disarmament is the real goal.”

    But the nuclear disarmament itself is quasi-schizophrenic in practice….

  42. “Finally, I favor a wait and see approach to Chinese hegemony in East Asia. Japan going nuclear soon would no doubt cause major tension (and that would be hypocritical on China’s part as China is nuclear armed) and would derail any chance to significantly improve Japan-China ties or to see the integration of NK into some kind of reasonable regional order. ”

    I disagree.China had already made peace with nuclear nemesis.Russia and India.
    If they can’t with Japan,then that has nothing to do with nukes but the old wounds of the past.Something that will continue to haunt the bilateral relation with or without Japanese nuclear armament.
    NK integration into somekind of reasonable regional order is even vague.First NK must collapse with it’s tyranny.Second they(or unified Korea)must abandon nuke.And three,this is something I don’t believe coming while I’m alive but what exactly is a reasonable regional order here?

    “Nukes could significantly decrease Japan’s security and I think that other possibilities should be exhausted before going down that road.”

    But that’s not the way many(if not the most)nuclear states think.Why Japan would be the exception?

    “It may be a second rate “factory of the world” in 10 years while Japan surges. There could be a real move toward political liberalization. China could be counter-balanced by an Indo-Japanese defence pact.”

    “Second rate” it maybe,still the largest.Anyway,no one in Asia can counter China alone.That’s a fact.And I don’t think Japan surges in 10 years.

    Indo-Japanese defense pact is unlikely.Indians were not that crazy about Abe Shinzo’s”The quads”.Worried that might upset Beijing and may lose policy independence to Washington.And India won’t be an East Asian power,but China is.And China is a power in South Asia that can only counter India,or so see the regional members in the sub-continent.India as a international player is over-rated.

  43. “So far NPT is the only judical body to recognize the status between “nuclear state” and “non-nuclear state””

    Yes, but it recognises and defines “nuclear-weapons States” as parties to the treaty, but does not define non-nuclear-weapon States at all, which may lead to two separate conclusions.

    Firstly, your conclusion that “non-nuclear-weapon States” include all states that are not “nuclear-weapons States” as defined by the treaty, i.e., those that did not explode a bomb before 1967.

    or

    As the term “non-nuclear-weapon States” is undefined by the NPT, it therefore may only apply to those that signed up to the treaty. After all, it makes absolutely no sense to impose obligations on “non-nuclear weapons States” (as the NPT does) if those states are not party to the agreement. As India, Pakistan and Israel didn’t sign, they have no status as either nuclear-weapon States or non-nuclear-weapon States according to the treaty. They have no status as such.

  44. Fascinating discussion. I’m curious, though, should Japan’s proliferation of a nuclear weapon be a grand strategic measure to realize 21st century “true power” status? Or should it be purely a defense mechanism against the North Korean threat?

    Assuming Japan has the recipe and ingredients at the ready to embark upon building a deliverable nuclear weapon post haste, the measures don’t stop at topping an ICBM with a warhead and bombs away. Extensive testing of both the delivery method and the fissile hell to be delivered will have to be performed to produce a viable weapon. So far as I know, there remains no covert fashion in which to test a nuclear device nor a long range missile. It stands to reason that Japan’s intentions will be quickly discerned by it’s neighbors and the reaction won’t be favorable. Very likely China’s reaction will be to immediately change it’s diplomatic position regarding North Korea as it’s ailing, regional “problem child” to that of strategic military asset. Beyond North Korea and China how does a nuclear armed Japan sit with South Korea?

    M-Bone states:
    “The Japanese left has relied too much on the idea that “Japanese were evil during the war so Japanese can turn evil at any time so should not have nukes.”

    Remember Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni shrine and the jingoistic reaction they incurred in China and South Korea? Or the reaction to Koizumi’s proposed changes to the constitution to allow Japanese troops to engage in military action? M-Bone’s observation of the Japanese left seems to apply to Japan’s neighbors, right, wrong or indifferent.

    If Japan choses to go nuclear it should be in the interest of becoming a 21st century military power (and one hopes Japan is ready to spend the extraordinary amount of yen it will cost; beyond production lies infrastructure, security, considerable military measures to defend nuke sites, first strike contingencies, reactive measure contingencies, a well designed political heirarchy of control regarding nukes, etc.) and not simply to mitigate the threat of North Korea.

  45. Aceface – If only all of the pro nuclear side in Japan were as logical in their arguments as you….

    Roy – Don’t mean that Japan should get nukes just for the voice, rather that Japanese, as a non-nuclear power, have to understand that they are in a very different position in disarmament discussions and find a way to speak with authority despite this.

    “M-Bone’s observation of the Japanese left seems to apply to Japan’s neighbors, right, wrong or indifferent.”

    It does apply. When you apply these types of culturalist positions to yourself, however, you can be described as reflective and self-critical (shouldn’t to too far, however). When you apply them to someone else’s culture, you end up demonizing.

  46. “they are in a very different position in disarmament discussions and find a way to speak with authority despite this.”

    I think the typical Japanese response to that would be “being the only country to have ever been attacked with a nuclear weapon is all the authority we need.”

    And I understand that you aren’t advocating Japan taking up nukes just for bargaining purposes, but I can imagine someone actually following that argument to its logical conclusion.

  47. “I think the typical Japanese response to that would be “being the only country to have ever been attacked with a nuclear weapon is all the authority we need.””

    Of course. And that argument has amazing traction…. in Japan. Abroad? Only with people who are already pro-disarmament.

    In any case, I don’t think that Japanese public opinion will shift toward constitutional revision in the near future, let alone getting nuclear arms.

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