Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 02:46 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 02:46 | SYDNEY

Hugh White wants Japan to have WHAT?


Sam Roggeveen


10 July 2008 15:24

Just in case you missed this nugget buried in Hugh White's last post on regional security, here it is again:

...a stable concert in Asia is only possible if Japan is no longer a strategic client of the US, and that means it needs to have its own nuclear weapons. It is a measure of the strangeness, newness and scariness of our future that we may find ourselves concluding that, absent global abolition of nuclear weapons, an independent Japanese nuclear deterrent is necessary for peace in Asia.

It's common in life to find that things which seem impossible in prospect can look inevitable in retrospect, so Hugh's idea is not to be dismissed just because it seems foreign and unfamiliar. But judged on its merits, I'm finding it hard to see why a nuclear-armed Japan would be a good thing for regional security. The reasons have been well rehearsed by others, and go mainly to the knock-on effects for Japan's neighbours.

It also seems excessive and unnecessary to me. Japan has been an acknowledged world economic power for decades and could be a greater political and military force in the multipolar future that Hugh imagines. But what would an independent nuclear capability add to that mix? Hugh, we want to hear more.