Japan's pro-nuclear weapon voices grow louder amid debate

By Yuri Kageyama

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Japan's neighbors need to urge the Japanese government to be "more transparent" in its military intentions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One thing to put to rest is the concern of a nuclear "accident" caused by an earthquake or something else. This is not a valid problem. Several weapons have been in bad environments and didn't "go nuclear". A B-29 crashed near Suisun Air Field with a device on board. The aircraft commander died in the fiery crash and the field, Travis AFB, is now named after him. A B-47 had to ditch a hydrogen bomb off the end of the Savannah River and the only result has been a fifty year long "treasure hunt" that has yielded nothing to date.

A more valid question is "why"? Risk analysis is the best way to answer that one. If the opponent is already "stone age", nukes are useless. North Korea falls in that group. See the night shot of the world and you see the lights stop at the DMZ and, except for Pyongyang, don't reappear until the Yalu River appears with the lights on the north side. On the other hand, technology dependent cultures are vulnerable to nuclear attack. Reality is a beast.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I assume that the supporters of nuclear weapons don't understand this problem in a comprehensive way and have not studied the experience in other countries. In addition, proponents of nuclear weapons do not understand international consequences. The main risk of nuclear weapons is the process of its production. I.e. the reliability and quality of technological process. At the moment, Japan is not cope with nuclear waste, not cope with the nuclear crisis on the Fukushima. I.e. supporters of nuclear weapons do not understand the nuclear problem which are now, and the problems, which will create nuclear weapons. International consequences. Harry Truman said a long time ago, that the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea may not be effective. The man in the office of the President of the United States has a very concrete experience of the testing of nuclear weapons on Japan. What can say about this proponents of nuclear weapons in Japan? The weapons cannot possibly be effective in a real war. Nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction has a sense of intimidation, i.e. in essence, this is a terrorist way of conducting a war. Weapons of mass destruction use those powers, which possess weak fighting spirit (the United States, NATO, the terrorists). Weapons of mass destruction is a terrorist way of conducting a war, which is effective only in respect of weakened States, explore which sealed regardless of weapons of mass destruction. Against whom Japan could use a nuclear bomb? Who would be afraid of the Japanese nuclear bomb? In the World there are no such countries. Russia, China and Korea will never be afraid of the Japanese nuclear bomb. It is exactly. What can say about this proponents of nuclear weapons in Japan? Nuclear weapons, as a Patriot and Aegis. It is useless financial costs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No no no. a thousand times no! I'm in the states and having nuclear weapons sure has made us safer, right? Strength should be coming from the mind, not the arselnal. Everybody seems to have nukes. is the world safer? Let Japan stay the safe haven for the whole world to see, and follow as a great example of living without nukes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WOW! Did I not say this before many times and NOW it comes to light that Japan is just as bent as the U.S. for their reasons to use traditional nuclear power reactors. Why, do we want to keep on using them? We want to be able to make bombs from the materials that go through those reactors. This IS why we don't see Thorium fueled reactors in mainstream use today.

I've said it before and I'll say THORIUM will solve two problems.

It will power Japan for the best Yen to watt return with the least land use and cleanest power per watt when you take EVERY single factor into consideration. Solar, wind and tide power do more damage then you think.

You can't make or harvest nuclear weapons grade products from Thorium based reactors.

and there's more reasons...

A system by design that when it fails actually shuts its self down. Look it up people. The only reason it doesn't exist in any real form today is because it can't be used to make a nuclear bomb so it was largely ignored during the Manhattan project and in the development of nuclear power stations that followed. Those HUGE contracts that builders of the current old tech reactors like GE and the even BIGGER waste disposal contracts to handle the 97% waste left over after the spent fuel rods are done is another set of reasons. Those are BIG $$$,$$$,$$$,$$$ contracts that would fissle out (sorry, couldn't resist that one) if Thorium reactors started to pop up every where.

Just think about how big oil companies and auto makers joined together to stalled battery technology so the cars would continue to use oil and the status quo assembly line would not need to be retooled. There were electric cars over 80 years ago and then nothing really until just recently. Why? The first electric car was built in 1828.

Patent squatting and buy outs held battery technology back. The same sort of lobbist rule hold true for Thorium.

Here are a few links but you'll find many more online. PUSH for THORIUM as a safer, cleaner power source!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wouldnt that be something if the anti-nuclear zealots manage to shut down all of Japans reactors, while the nationalists succeed in bringing on a nuclear arms program?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oppose Japan deploying and using atomic weapons just out of general principle if nothing more. Killing so many people and in just a horrible way goes against my Christian beliefs. Second these weapons would make Japan a priority target.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Surrounded by those with nuclear capability, both friendly (USA) and unfriendly (China, N. Korea, Russia and who knows may be Pakistan and India) with no ability to defend against devastation from the use of it, it is not much of a deterrent for Japan. However, being outnumbered by the unfriendly with the unpredictable unfriendly in the Middle East with nuclear arms, Japan needs to look at such options.

It is not and never has been an "idealized" and "wishful thinking" world where a common morality and ethics prevail or a world which would abide by Japan's wishful thinking that nuclear arms will not be used just because Japan "declared" it after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan must remember that it was the USA that "crafted" Japan's constitution and conveniently prohibited nuclear arms along with forces, knowing the Japanese people's sentiment after WWII.

Since then, USA would probably have loved Japan to "inherit" much of the nuclear arms that USA had to get rid of, as part of their agreement with then Soviet Union and for Japan to build up its military to counter China. It would have been better in the hands of those who "feared" the awesome power of such weapons and had the "conscience" not to use it.

For the near future, Japan may actually NEED that capability, not so much for war, but for saving humanity when an asteroid or comet comes too close. So far USA, Russia, China and Japan has the real capability of blasting off into space for such a mission.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's a well known fact that Japan can deploy nuclear weapons within a 4 hour time frame which is the time to get the H2 rockets fueled and ready. At least that's what the Classified US Military Documents state. Actually, all you need to do is go to Fukushima and collect some waste material these days and you have a very very lethal dirty bomb in the making. Stick it on any defensive missile and let it crash in one of the cities.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Some 20plus years ago I was given a booklet produced by the Co operative Society of Japan,outlining from Japans own experience its reason why nuclear weapons should be abolished. The devastation caused by the use of such dastardly weapons, clearly depicted Will the Japanese public agree to harbouring such destructive weapons as a means of defence? If the majority of the population say "yes", I will be very surprised

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a debate that has been taking place in Japan for a long time. According to the article the Japanese government was already engaged in internal discussions with regard to the introduction of nuclear weapons to defend Japan from outside aggressors in the sixties, but it could have been earlier than that as some of you have pointed out. The truth is that times change. The circumstances under which Japan drafted its current constitution renouncing the use, storage or production of nuclear weapons may not apply now. However, I have seen the impressive Memorial to those who died in Hiroshima as a result of the drop of the first nuclear bomb and I can understand why most Japanese do not like the idea of nuclear weapons. At the same time, some Japanese people may agree to engage in the debate in view of the attitude of some of its neighbouring countries. For former defence minister Mr. Ishiba to bring up this issue for public debate now it may be an indication that the ruling class of Japan has already made up its mind about it. Mr. Ishiba's words may not be but a way to begin to sense public opinion on this controversial issue. Time will tell.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

hereforeverAug. 05, 2012 - 08:08AM JST

So, Nuclear plants are not about cheap electricity and clear air. It's about the ability to make nuclear weapons?

It's a common misconception. Civil nuclear plants make very dirty type of plutonium that is not weaponize without very expensive methods that don't even deliver great results. Weapons grade plutonium is made in special reactors, like the Monju fast breeder reactor. What can be made are plutonium laced dirty bombs, but those are not nuclear in nature and closer to poison bombs in use.

Japan should continue with civil power nuclear plants, but entirely drop nuclear weapons. There is no reason to force people's hands by using a great force for good in such a horrible way.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Lowly, there were articles about it a few months ago. I zero idea why they would store materials abroad and why the UK would allow them but I did read it. A search should turn something up.

And indeed, the nuclear power plants aren't about electricity at all. Shame most if the public is clueless about this. I get so sick and tired of hearing how they are anti-nuke and a peace loving country when clearly, they aren't.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

About nuclear arms in foreign countries. There are a lot of nukes (a few dozen or so), which belong to the US armed forces, which are stationed in Germany since the good old days of MAD in the Cold War. As far as I know, the German military can in principle trigger them - however, no one (since the end of the Cold War) wants to have them. Thus, there were some serious diplomatic incidents, when German politicians tried to get the US to take back their nukes - because we don't want nukes.

In Japan, the situation is probably more or less the same. Japanese military forces probably share the command of US nukes on the Japanese archipelago with the US forces. However, it might be the case that they are not considered as reliable or mentally stable by the US military command. Judging from Japanese right-wing rhethoric, it's not hard to guess why.

Something which I always start to think about in terms of Japan and nukes is - where the hell do they want to do the test explosions? Japan doesn't have any remote places which are far away from any inhabited areas except some islands a few hundreds of kilometers away from the archipelago. Still, radioactive debris would waft over to mainland Japan. A sure way to get the public on the barricades - even the docile Japanese public. And no way is such a test or the preparations of it staying secret. The diplomatic fallout would be even worse than any real factual result of such a test.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

zichiAug. 05, 2012 - 07:08PM JST

Following the nuclear disaster "nationalist pride" took a big hit and an even bigger one when the investigation by Diet Commission called it a man made nuclear disaster. The nuke village is down on it's knees but not quite out.

Stop making entirely off topic comments. I think most don't care about the nuclear village that has nothing to do with weapons use.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

A professor named Yuki Tanaka at Hiroshima University prophesied 5 years ago that once China overtook Japan to become the world's second biggest economy, conservative politicians in Japan would move to change article 9 of the constitution. I think a lot of Japanese worry about the continuing economic decline here while China becomes stronger and stronger militarily and economically. If there is a general election this year, watch for a resurgence of right wing rhetoric along these lines as conservatives continue to play on these fears. If they are successful, everyone is a loser. Military build-ups and cold war atmospheres are not only very expensive for taxpayers but also induce many illogical hatreds in a pervading climate of fear.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

CrazyJoeAug. 05, 2012 - 07:35AM JST

The reason why nuclear plants are built in Japan is for one reason only, so you could fight a future nuclear war.

Except that civil power plants produce too much Pu-240 to make weaponizable plutonium. (Pu 240 makes bombs fizzle). All the weapons grade plutonium is produced from the Monju and other fast breeder reactors. You should not say random misinformation like that, as it only serves to rally emotions at the cost of truth.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

more vocal about their belief that Japan should have at least the ability to make nuclear weapons

Was that a stupid debate with fruitless results? Even a broken third world country like Pakistan could made nukes as nuclear deterrences! These debates were just pushing their own to the wall corner, Japan is paranoid, their people were hopeless helpless, besides making useless boasting they cant do anything!

Japanese politicians, wonderful!!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

“If people keep saying (nuclear energy) is for having nuclear weapons capability, that is not good,” Suzuki said. “It’s not wise. Technically it may be true, but it sends a very bad message to the international community.

Messenger doesn't write the message. What other countries see free speech as problematic? North Korea, China, Syria... What happy rich paradises they are.

It seems that even the pacifistic constitution is not enough to hold the Japanese dogs of war in check for long. So nice of them for declaring every nuclear power plant in Japan a legitimate military target. That make mass annihilation with mere handful of conventional weapons so much easier. Well, history teaches (to all but Japanese children, as we all know) what options the world has for Japan if those dogs get beyond mere talk. Again.

The world welcomes truly peace-loving Japan. Too bad that's not all of Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They need nuclear weapons for what? Fighting China? North Korea? Aliens? Texas sized asteroids? Tsunamis?

This sounds like nothing more then a bunch of old and impotent men trying to act tough. As if building nukes will somehow return Japan to its glory years(lol what a joke).

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Japan has the materials and the knowhow to make a bomb overnight. What Ishiba is trying to do is to show the Japanese public that he has the ability to be the next prime minister of Japan after his Liberal Democratic Party regains power. He actually raised an old issue, and that is, should Japan make the bomb or not. He's been worming his way into the spotlight lately, so look for other, I guess you would say "fabulous," ideas from him. It's all part of that trek toward the prime minister's seat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan making & having nukes is clearly a bad idea, Japan seemed to have learned that from Hiroshima & Nagasaki but not enough.

The govt/bureauocrates/big biz built all those NPPs & we got Fukushima & the more we learn about that nasty trio the more obvious we cud have more & more Fukushima like "accidents" . Truth is NOW Japan nukes itself, its neighbours dont need any of their own given the imbeciles who run Japan!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is not a new story; it's been popping up regularly for the past four decades and nothing ever comes of it. AP could have just as easily recycled the story it did on this topic after China tested its first nuclear weapon back in the mid-1960s.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now we see why some people are so keen to keep the NPPs going and why so much money has been poured into developing nuclear energy at the expense of renewables.

But I think pointing out that Japan 'needs' NPPs to build up a nuclear arsenal will backfire on the pollies; Mr & Mrs Average Taro and Hanako Suzuki will see it as yet another argument for scrapping all NPPs. The Suzukis do not want Japan to be a nuclear state.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Stupid right wing crazies think guns and weapons are the answer to peace when in reality they are the cause of war and destruction. No weapons = no war.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

We already knew-- one big point about having a big "healthy" nuke power program was to have nuke weapons ability. Especially w/ some generator types that provide weapons-grade plutonium. I have heard they have the capability to make weapons, but were stopping just before making real ones.

Now that taking away all nuke power plants is a real possibility, the ppl involved in the behind the scenes nuke weapons schemes are going to stir up paranoia and tell everyone we need them for all the scary ppl around us to save their nuclear program.

I guess there is the deterrent argument, but mostly, losing a war sounds better to me than the aftermath of nuclear weapons going off abroad and in your home country.

tmarie- have never heard that about basing weapons abroad. Is that real? What would be the point? So they could waste Germany and Poland, but only with the UK's permission? sounds weird to me.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Just what the world needs. A nationalistic testosterone- fueled bully-boy like Ishihara with his finger on a nuclear launch button. I hope the people of Japan shut this idea down (assuming the general public are even aware of it).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

sarusurfer: "The only true deterrent for Japan against a power like China would be to have a nuclear arsenal."

Actually, I'd say the only true deterrent would be to get rid of all the right wing nuts who think having a nuclear arsenal is a good idea, and put in people who are willing to tone down the rhetoric and try to work things out through peace, friendship, and making amends for past horrors. But that will never happen here.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The only true deterrent for Japan against a power like China would be to have a nuclear arsenal.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I'm not sure why this is surprising... Japan never seems to learn from its mistakes. But a year and a few months after one of the world's biggest nuclear crises, talk of making nuclear weapons in the only country to suffer nuclear attacks is on the rise. Tsk tsk.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

This whole topic reeks of hypocrisy. You want to use nuclear weapons as a deterrent, but then you find yourself using them because you need to prove that they aren't a bluff. Nice plan.

Yes, thus ensuring that no enemy that nukes Japan will get away with it. This is how mutually assured destruction works. Take away China and Best Korea's nukes away from the tactical equation, all we have to focus on is their laughable naval strength.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

when in storage, such detonations can occur underground in a massive manner, as those can become extremely fragile when transporting it to the launch pad.

Don't worry, we'll put them in submarines that lurk in the depths of some unknown foreign sea.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The only reply to China is making nukes and pointing towards China. You will see big difference in the Island disputes and anything which you are talking with the Chinese..

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

ARE YOU NUTS!?!?!?!? It could be enough to obliverate the whole population once fell to the wrong hands. Much worse, as this is an insanely seismically active country, when in storage, such detonations can occur underground in a massive manner, as those can become extremely fragile when transporting it to the launch pad.

If the pro-nuclear ones at birth dislike what i say, then bury my head with lead

1 ( +3 / -2 )

That 's a movie ,Cause it is impossible to get the nuclear fuel rod to the war head missile .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If lemmings could vote.....

This whole topic reeks of hypocrisy. You want to use nuclear weapons as a deterrent, but then you find yourself using them because you need to prove that they aren't a bluff. Nice plan.

The big boys really don't wanna give up their stockpile of money, do they?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

And the wall of sound will grow and not relent. The people demand change.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If I could vote for Ishihara I most certainly would.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Having nuclear plants shows to other nations that Japan can make nuclear weapons

I have said in this forum before, Japann is a constant threat to China and asia security by rattling sabre of threatening to make nuclear arsenals, the pacifist constitution is an obstacle that will be removed one day! Do Not blame China is teh bully, the fundamental cause of asia security disability was the Japanese policticans who were able to do whatever trpubles to others for their own sake!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

At least that's what I believe to be true.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So, Nuclear plants are not about cheap electricity and clear air. It's about the ability to make nuclear weapons?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Japan has the most advance missile launch system outside of the United States and Russia for launching satellites, and It can easily snap on warheads, and I'm sure they have occult (secret) programs in Japan which has been going on for decades. (Fukusima Daichi Plant is the center where they brought the nuclear material from Russia and where they are doing plutonium enrichment for nuclear detonators).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Isn't Japan storing in the UK and has recently upped the numbers of what they have? Were a few articles months ago about this.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is a very important point not revealed to the public very much. Noda may already knew this view and he was not very positive in eliminating all nuclear power plants from Japan. I don't agree Japan have nukes but to keep nuclear plants in Japan very important.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The reason why nuclear plants are built in Japan is for one reason only, so you could fight a future nuclear war.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan needs to have the nuclear option just as it neighbors have if it doesn't already have it. It will be up to the people to decide to use it. If Japan has it, then the Yanks can come home.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

if for the bomb, then you can do these experiments on one of japan's isolated islands in the ocean. Japan's main islands should be free of nukes. Japan has had no back-outs through the hot summer and evidently, does not need nuke electricity. the restarted oi reactors have not had any significant effect.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

As if Japan doesn't have them already... More like people are debating as to tell the public.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

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