Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 20:53 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 20:53 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: No to a nuclear Japan


Sam Roggeveen


16 July 2008 16:09

Crispin responds to Hugh White's post about why Japan might need nuclear weapons:

First off, a nuclear Japan would kill the non-proliferation effort globally. Countries around the world would procure nuclear arsenal, possibly even Australia.  It would spur an arms race in the region that would increase tensions dramatically. This increase in regional tension would almost certainly do much greater harm to Sino-US relations than the status quo. 
Hugh talks about how Japan deserves nuclear weapons after 65 years of responsible behaviour. Unfortunately, Japan's behaviour has only been responsible from the perspective of the West, not the region where it matters. Japan has done pathetically little to atone for it's wartime atrocities, brushes over them in text books, fails to acknowledge comfort women, and so on. Nor have they made any meaningful attempt at reconcilliation, often taking advantage of the economic and political weakness of their neighbhours, including a weak China, to avoid reparations. Of course, government visits to the Yasukuni Shrine honoring dead Class-A war criminals doesn't help much either.
The best solution for Sino-US relations is for Sino-Japanese relations to improve. That will not happen with a nuclear armed Japan. Also. the internal situation in Japan would be very uncertain. The peace constitution is wildly popular in Japan, and resistance to its modification would be intense. 
Finally, it remains unclear why, exactly, Japan needs nuclear weapons for its own defence. While they are perhaps a bit green on combat experience, the Japanese armed forces are among the most technically advanced in the world. They are surely deterrent enough on their own without a nuclear bomb?