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Should JAPAN go nuclear given the reality of NORTHEAST ASIA?


6 Nov 2003
Should Japan develop nuclear weapons given the reality of Northeast Asia?

The mass media at the moment is focused on events in Iraq, yet events on the Korean peninsula are once more causing probles.

If you look at the geopolitical reality of Northeast Asia, then it is clear that this region is very dangerous. The Russian Federation, China and North Korea respectively have nuclear weapons; and of course the USA can deploy their enormous stockpile at short notice. Yet what about Japan?

For Japan, despite major economic problems since 1990, still remains to be the second largest economy in the world. More important, the ending of WW2 was a long time ago and how much longer will Japan "reside under the American umbrella?"

Future events like Korean unification, Chinese nationalism or clashes with the Russian Federation could happen in the Northern Territories. Or events between China and Taiwan could spiral out of control. While during the Asian Economic Financial Crash between 1997-1998 it did look like the US was edging closer to China. Therefore, even the US-Japan alliance system could one day collapse over issues like trade.

Therefore, should Japan go nuclear? Or shouldn't the Japanese government at least discuss this issue?

What do you think?

Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

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hehehe, this may be quite controversial.

If i am not wrong, in 20 years or even longer, the expansion of China will not change the power of Russia in the Far East. This is due to the fact that China will in the short run, seek assistance from Russia in many aspects. To either China or Japan, Russia is not a reliable friend( but to Japan, I think USA is a good mate). Russia will find a balance between China and USA, just like 60 years ago, it gained benefit from the War between China and Japan. Don't expect Russia clashes with China in the short term.

So what is the current attitude towards Japan in China?

I have stressed it in my first post here in this forum, Anti-Japanese sentiment is overwhelmingly Strong in China, especially in Universities.
Even huge amounts of people advocate boycott of Japanese product.

( i know it's ridculous, but most Chinese can not accept the event of orgy in ZHU HAI, and the latest event of the performeance of 3 Japanese students in XI 'AN)

The relation between china and Japan is too complicated...

All the Anti- Japanese action is self- motivated and not controlled by Chinese authority. Consequently, it puts Chinese government to an emarrassing position, that it has to follow the steps of THOSE CHINESE EXTREMISTS( in chinese, we called them ツキテ淌??).

If Japan claims on attempting to develop Nuclear Weapons, China and Korea will be upset.

In the ultimate analysis, if Japan thinks its current position--- under American military umbrella is a disgrace. ( I think economically it is a good deal, and overall it is quite desirable to keep this relation with Americans). It will be destructive and tragic to Japan.
But what purpose would Japan having its own nuclear weapons serve? Unless the US continues with this silly missile defense shield idea, how could Japan's neighbors interpret nuclear weapons as anything other than offensive? Japan is small and a few missles launched from anywhere in the region (little warning) would be able to not only knock out Japan but probably take care of any second strike capability unless Japan was armed to the teeth (which would be a bad idea anyway). With the US and the Soviets you had, what 20 minutes after learning of a launch? I'm no expert though. So you could get your bombers in the air, your subs in position and launch other missles back. My understanding is this is the basic concept behind nuclear deterrence. If the other guy launches at you, you will be able to launch back. MAD (mutually assured destruction) and all that.

Japan, being in such a tight security environment (you don't need ICBMs) other countries would see Japan as being able to either strike first or, for all intensive purposes, not at all. That puts a lot of pressure on any attacking force to knock out Japans nukes first and as fast as possible if a conflict ever approaches the nuclear end of the spectrum. "Fast as possible" and "nuclear" usually don't add up to good things. Maybe one or two Japanese birds might get away for a second strike but nothing to do near the same amount of damage.

So, based on my reasoning, which is probably flawed (again I am not an expert) trying to secure Japan by arming with nukes actually produces a less stable regional environment (ie an arms race). Japan needs to stick to diplomacy and hope the US military and the Japanese public can keep out of each others hair.
Very interesting topic here! Again, my reasonings may be flawed but here are my two cents; on the global scale, there won't be much benefits for Japan building up nuclear arms; and it may eventually destablize the entire region.

Of course, it may help the US in creating a buffer between america and asian superpowers as well as sending a strong politcal message to asian countries. However, it will only strengthen the relationship between Japan and US in the short run at the expense of destablizing the entire asian region.....

As some of you have explained earlier, building up nuclear arsenal in Japan may be good for a preemptive strike but it won't fare well in prolonged conflict. In fact, well placed US nuclear subs and military forces based on secret locations like Diego Garcia are much more effective than building nuclear aresenal in Japan.
No I don't think that it's necessary for Japan to build Nukes because their under the wing of the US,which means they can concentrate more on industry and commerce more than building up their military and creating Nukes.
I agree with Shadow that if Japan is to go nuclear, it will become a destabilizing factor in the region. Further more, it would most likely spark off a nuclear race...
...err... Japan can go nuclear. They have the know-how through their nuclear power plants, their space program and lots of qualified manpower.
In the midst of a crisis, I wonder how long would it take to combine the three, in something threat... err, I mean deterrent?

So, why should they go nuclear in a time that they are trying to recover from a economical slump? It would bring them problems at home, it would bring them problems abroad and instead of balancing, it would extreme positions throughout Asia and the world, too.
A few thoughts

Japan is what is called a nuclear status quo power. There is no doubt that japan could assemble a nuclear weapon (and could do so within weeks if not days), and have the missiles to deliver them anywhere in the world. Others include Sweeden, Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa, Most of Europe and a few others.

Japan should not develop a nuclear capability, to do so will have a destabilizing affect on the region. Nuclear weapons will do nothing to protect Japan, and will just harden other nations positions vis-テ?-vis Japan. It will probably force South Korea to go nuclear as well and it will be impossible to get North Korea to ever give up nuclear capability once its two regional rivals gain nukes. Any sort of cooperative spirit in East Asia will be dead. Resurgent Nationalism is about the worst thing that could happen. I think we are standing on a dark precipice in the world today and East asia is one of the darkest places. If Japan renationalizes, we might as well kiss the world goodbye, because nothing is going to get in between China and Japan. The United States should be working harder in East Asia to enforce the status quo, and North Korea is the lynchpin. Solve North Korea and you stall the most pressing problem

I don窶冲 think the Japanese~US alliance will collapse over trade. Japan is absolutely reliant on the US domestic market for prosperity. Furthermore we have over a decade of continued security cooperation between the United States and the EU with almost vicious trade disputes over GMOs, Steel Tariffs, and Agricultural Subsidies going on the background. Several studies have shown that the Security and foreign policy as an independent variable from trade. Look how in the EU economic foreign policy is separate from the Common foreign and security Policy, which do not coordinate and have completely different procedures. If Japanese/American relations do collapse it will be over Japanese nationalism, which may use a trade dispute as a excuse, but it will by no means be the primary reason.
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Yeah, I agree. Any way you look at it, nuclear weapons would be a bad thing for Japan to have. Japan's alliance with the US is more than enough of an assurance of its security against any potential threat from its neighbors, which are almost non-existant in the first place. The only thing such a move would bring about would be worsened relations with its nieghbors and less security rather than more.

Its kind of frightening though that as idiotic an idea as it is, it has support among some of the more fanatical members of the government. In my opinion the right wing in Japan are competely nuts, even more so than the evangelical gun toting morons from Texas that run the show in the US. Those guys are ideological fanatics too, but at least their lust for personal power keeps them somewhat grounded in reality. But in Japan, look at a guy like Ishihara. He routinely uses racist language to denounce foreigners, openly espousing plans to round us all up and force us to live in ghettos built on artificial islands. He insults the Chinese by calling them an ignorant race while at the same time calling for the abolition of article nine of the constitution and demanding that the government declare war on North Korea. The man is a raving lunatic and yet he is widely popular and some say he could be the next prime minister. If that happens, we'll probably be looking at a nuclear armed, fascist Japanese state. And me and my wife will be packing our bags and saying sayonara to this country once and for all.
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