Japan's Nuclear Future

November 2009

In the aftermath of North Korea's second nuclear test and the launch of three short-range missiles on May 25, 2009, followed by the launch of seven ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on July 4, there has been widespread speculation on Japan's principled position on non-proliferation and disarmament and whether it will abandon its nuclear abstinence and acquire nuclear capability. This possibility has been echoed recently by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Reiterating similar sentiments, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned that unless China reigns in North Korea, it should be ready to ‘live in an Asia in which South Korea and Japan have nuclear weapons’. 1 Although such views are not in tandem with the public opinion, it breaks an established public taboo on analysing Japan's nuclear stance.