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Should Japan have its own nuclear weapons as a deterrent against security threats or should it rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella?

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No, absolutely not. it should have a very effective defence system, but I don't personally believe they should have nuclear weapons. I also think that is what their strategic alliance with the US is for. There are, and should be inherent beneficial offshoots to allowing huge US bases and military installations on their territory. The US, for their part, also have an obligation to fully support Japan in their hour of greatest need as a result of this, so providing the US doesn't balk at the rise of belligerent China, then Japan should be fine without.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Rely on USA. What if the ultra-right gets hold of a weapon?

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

I bet they do already.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

What kind of choice is this?

NO ONE NEEDS NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else.

Major General Smedley Butler

10 ( +19 / -9 )

BertieWooster

What kind of choice is this? NO ONE NEEDS NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

No kidding Bertie. But it's hardly a pragmatic or helpful opinion when the subject of this discussion Japan's realistic choices in a world/region in which nuclear proliferation already exists, now is it? Of course in your mind Japan has no regional enemies, either existing or potential, so choosing the non-existent "c) Neither of the above" makes perfect sense to you...

1 ( +10 / -9 )

There should be NO nuclear weapons in the world, so I can't support any new weapons being created.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

There are already enough nuclear weapons to destroy the entire world (several times over), why would we ever need more? By the recent line of articles or questions, (by JT) it appears there will be no limit to the so called "defensive" weapons sales, and this is just the beginning.

Bertie Wooster: Agreed and I like the quote you posted from major general Smedley Buttler

5 ( +7 / -2 )

japan should have its own deterrent ,as for the american nuclear umbrella , I think that its a farce

kick out those bases and defend yourself

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ABSOLUTELY Yaaaaaaaasssssss! JAPAN needs nukes and has advantage over the US' skirt. Japan can deliver in signigicantly shorter range, faster and more accurate. Nuke proliferation is already a problem, Japan should counter the imbalance.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

Only a small inside group knows what it is about.

I think most know what it's about but that doesn't give them a choice in the matter.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well japan should also have. For how long will they rely on Americans.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Sadly, Japan has proven herself unable to safely manage and operate nuclear technology in times of peace. The last thing Japan needs - or can manage - would be nuclear weapons.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Stuart Hayward

Bertie Wooster: Agreed and I like the quote you posted from major general Smedley Buttler

Wonderful quote, which unfortunately has no relevance in the present day or to the subject at hand. It comes from a man who never lived a single day in a nuclear world or one which includes inter-continental WMD, and died over fifty years before the internet and its gift of ungoverned information to the public. The fact that you and Bertie Wooster think this sentiment of MG Butler's is in some way applicable to present day Japan's national security is laughable and telling.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Years ago I would have said an emphatic NO and the thought of Japan possessing nukes still does not sit well with me, however, with a wishy-washy president in the U.S. (not only the present occupant of the White House, but the possibility of others) who are reluctant to defend America's traditional allies, I don't see much of an alternative.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Nothing is cheaper than nukes for keeping the Chinese at bay, and an adequate "defense at the coastline" stopped being practical about 100 years ago with the development of combat aircraft.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

If other countries like Iran and North Korea can have it, why can't Japan

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Japan cannot entirely depend on another to defend its territory. You can ask for help but don't depend on it. If Japan needs nukes to defend itself against aggressors, then she need to build them.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

A Country should never have to rely on another Country to protect its shores. Japan should do more to look after itself and only ask for US help when absolutely necessary and not just be dependant on it from the get-go.

If that means Japan needs nukes then so be it, no one wants them but they are already here and the only defence against nukes is, unfortunately, more nukes.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

None of the above. Japan ought to be a neutral nation, thus dropping the need for either the US's or its own nuclear weapons. In either case, if those nuclear weapons are used Japan would be fried. Japan ought to take cues from countries like Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. All these nations maintain neutrality without the need of nuclear weapons from any source. And their people also live better than the Japanese.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

What mentality or philosophy or lunacy is behind the theory that when China owns thousands and thousands of nuclear weapons aiming at Japan and its retired general openly declared that turning Japan into a nuclear sea of fire is their national dream, Japan must not have any of its own? Rely on USA? Are you sure?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Would not this world be better of with no wars nuclear or otherwise.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

living in the USA, I say no. No one needs nuclear weapons. Having nuclear weapons has not brought peace to anybody. it did deter other countries from being stupid with their ambitions, but that's not worth it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Anyone interested in the U.S.A.'s "nuclear umbrella" needs to take a look at this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y1ya-yF35g

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

We don't need more countries accumulating nuclear weapons. The weapon is an inefficient relic of WWII. The use of such a weapon renders the land it was used on unusable for generations to come. Its only purpose is as a threat to civilian populations and the use of such a weapon would automatically qualify the one using them as a war criminal under the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949).

As an American, I would be absolutely ECSTATIC if nuclear weapons disappeared (yes, including the ones in the U.S.' arsenal). They have been rendered obsolete by modern precision weapons. But, as the saying goes, once you let the genie out of the bottle you can't put him back in.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

No war has been fought between two nuclear armed powers (except India and Pakistan but those are outliers) That alone says to me they can be used for securing peace.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

No war has been fought between two nuclear armed powers (except India and Pakistan but those are outliers) That alone says to me they can be used for securing peace.

??? So you're saying that the U.S. and the USSR/Russia haven't been fighting wars since they acquired nuclear weapons??? The nukes in their arsenals haven't "secured peace" for anyone. The wars continue unabated.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Fadamor No wars between them directly, though, and that is important. Could have been many more lives lost in direct conflict.

Another point is that the Chinese and others have been mocking Japan's alliances because China only understands the threat of force. Nothing will shut them up faster than the capability to inflict significant damage on them.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'd rather take a third option:

No nuclear weapons, and no reliance on another country's nuclear weapons. The Cold War is over, and thank heavens it is. Perpetuating that kind of international relations creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of pointless standoffs.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan & nuke weapons are you NUTS! No way Japan could make, operate & maintain them PERIOD!

Just looking at Japan & nuke plants should be enough to know Japan cannot, is not able to handle nuclear weapons, pretty simple imo.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

War is a racket and who wants any nuclear weapon at all. I absolutely agree with General Butler with the adequate defense of the coastlines and nothing else is sufficient. However realistically in this modern world the bilateral alliance with the United States, and their theater missile defense system which is designed to block incoming missiles are a better choice and seems to be the best option for Japan than an independent nuclear defense simply because if Japan got their own nuclear weapons other Asian governments would follow, inflaming regional tension. It is like opening up a can of worms.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I like the Cold War. Everyone has nukes but nobody is at least stupid enough to push the button. It creates some nice tension and excitement. Everybody needs to keep a cool head or spell the demise of mankind. Mankind needs this, especially at this point in time or otherwise they would go cocky and kill each other in other ways. Should Japan have nukes? Of course! If terrorists like the CCP can have them, why not. So they could fall into the hands of the extreme right? In China they ARE in the hands of the extreme right!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Novenachama Well maybe SK would get nukes, but I don't think there are any other countries that live in fear of imaginary Imperial Japan 2.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

CGB Spender : I like the Cold War. Everyone has nukes but nobody is at least stupid enough to push the button. It creates some nice tension and excitement.

Good practice for the future, when everyone will have asteroids and other assorted planetbusters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You can tell this question was written by someone from the US, since they seem to be labouring under the delusion (one of many) that the US "nuclear umbrella" is the only one in existence.

The United Kingdom, France, and even India all have confirmed nuclear ICBMs, and they're all likely to retaliate against China if China launches at anyone, for the simple reason that allowing China or North Korea to do it and get away with it would create a situation where it would be more likely to happen again, and next time it might be closer to home.

And those are just the countries that have publicly declared their nuclear ICBMs. It is a fair bet that there are another dozen countries with nuclear ICBM capabilities that would also take offensive measures.

This question is hopelessly biased, it tries to polarise the world into "black hat" China and "white hat" US. In reality international nuclear politics is far more complex.

... and anyone who thinks that Japan doesn't already have nuclear weapons is frankly kidding themselves. We know that the LDP allowed the transport of nuclear weapons through Japan, in defiance of their stated "anti-nuclear weapon" policy, and if they're prepared to do that then it is a darned certainty that one or more of those nuclear weapons is still in a silo somewhere in Japan.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@Fadamor No wars between them directly, though, and that is important.

Yeah, instead we now have "proxy wars" like the one that was in Vietnam or the one currently going on in the Ukraine where both superpowers are propping-up their respective sides of the conflict. I'll say it again. The possession of nuclear weapons has not reduced wars at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Frungy,

Exactly right. This is why I didn't vote. There is no choice!

China is NOT the enemy. It is a huge economic rival for the U.S.A. maybe, but it is not a nuclear threat.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@Bertie China is only not a threat if you are prepared to give them the Senkakus and possibly your home, the Ryukyus as imaginary spoils of WW2.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan has been able to build nuclear weapons ever since it launched a plutonium breeder reactor and a uranium enrichment plant 30 years ago.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Frungy : The United Kingdom, France, and even India all have confirmed nuclear ICBMs, and they're all likely to retaliate against China if China launches at anyone, for the simple reason that allowing China or North Korea to do it and get away with it would create a situation where it would be more likely to happen again, and next time it might be closer to home.

Nobody's jumping in to the game just because "next time it might be closer to home".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

turbotsatOct. 15, 2014 - 12:16AM JST Nobody's jumping in to the game just because "next time it might be closer to home".

What does this comment mean?

The simple fact is that China will never launch at any major economic power because it would suffer as much from the global economic backlash as anyone else. That's the true deterrent here, economics. And we're not just talking about the ruling party in China losing out on their extensive international investments (although that would be a major factor in their personal decision making), we're talking about food shipments being delayed, jobs being lost and the chewing gum and duct tape that holds China together coming apart.

That's why this question is so idiotic. It pretends that nuclear weapons are even a major factor. They aren't the real warfare these days is economic, and the entire world is at war and has been for the last 70 years.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Frungy: Japan continually lobbies the U.S. not to reduce it's nuclear weapons. I think the question is framed this way because Japanese bureaucrats believe Japan is under IT. However, there should be a third option of not being a hypocrite and just opposing nukes altogether.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

shallotsOct. 15, 2014 - 07:03AM JST Frungy: Japan continually lobbies the U.S. not to reduce it's nuclear weapons.

Do you have a source for this, because I have plenty showing that Japan actively lobbies AGAINST nuclear weapons, for example:

http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/nwgs/japan-american-nuclear-posture.pdf

I think you may be confusing the pro-nuclear power lobbyists with pro-nuclear weapon lobbyists. Sometimes it is a hard distinction since spent fuel rods from nuclear power stations can be processed into fuel for nuclear weapons, so there is overlap between the two camps (i.e. many pro-nuclear weapon lobbyists also belong to the pro-nuclear power lobby group). I wouldn't be surprised if some reporter who didn't understand this distinction reported Japan as being "pro-nuclear".. without realising that nuclear power and nuclear weapons are two different things.

I think the question is framed this way because Japanese bureaucrats believe Japan is under IT.

JT is clearly and consistently pro-US in its stance, and I don't think they went around polling Japanese bureaucrats before writing this question. The simplest (and probably correct) answer is that the phrasing of the question reflects a pro-US bias.

However, there should be a third option of not being a hypocrite and just opposing nukes altogether.

Indeed. Here we agree.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Both choices are very poor. No country should have nuclear weapons.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Appalling set of options: Nuclear weapons 'yes', or nuclear weapons 'yes'.

So far votes are:

local nuclear weapons dependence Brain dead - 62 vs. overseas-sourced nuclear weapons dependence Brain dead - 87.

SOOO NEE - why should Japan be the only ones to commemorate atomic death and destruction twice every August when, given the right excuse, other countries could be made to commemorate it too!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow. Didn't realize so many people live in a fantasy world where nuclear proliferation can simply be wished away because, "nukes are bad." Guess they just haven't collected enough signatures to convince the genie to get back in the bottle...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

By subjecting thyselves to the Nuclear Weaponry , thou countries start losing insight of peace and humanity. Which has happened to America already. Nothing good happens out of relationship with weapons.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan shouldn't get nor should they be able to control any nuclear weapons. Japan's government and proven time and time again that they are too illogical and dumb to make good decisions.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Frungy,

Ah, the voice of reason:

The simple fact is that China will never launch at any major economic power because it would suffer as much from the global economic backlash as anyone else. That's the true deterrent here, economics.

Exactly. China is not as stupid as to start a war at the drop of a hat as some other large nations that shall remain nameless.

China is a trading nation.

It is not a bunch of cowboys.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yeah, China is a trading nation where the government will happily stand by when Japanese people and businesses are assaulted. And will happily throw all that development out the window as long as the saintly Party can remain in control.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

BertieWoosterOct. 15, 2014 - 11:47PM JST Ah, the voice of reason

Thank you. Sadly reasonable people seem in very short supply these days.

scipantheistOct. 16, 2014 - 04:36AM JST Yeah, China is a trading nation where the government will happily stand by when Japanese people and businesses are assaulted. And will happily throw all that development out the window as long as the saintly Party can remain in control.

I'd strongly recommend that you go to the BBC website and download the series, "China: As History is my Witness". It is only about 10 x 15 minute episodes, but it gives a lot of insight into the way that China's history has shaped their current political outlook.

China has had hundreds of years of civil war, invasions, death, famine and horrors. To put it simply, by the time the revolution happened in China the people were sick of war and death. They traded security and stability for greatly reduced freedoms (kindof the way the U.S. and U.K. are doing now, but the Chinese actually had a legitimate reason for doing so). Speak to any Chinese person and they'll admit that their government officials are corrupt, untrustworthy sorry excuses for human beings...

BUT China is stable. And this is a BIG but in the minds of Chinese people. As long as China remains stable the government will be keeping up its end of the social contract, and the Chinese people will grumble but remain largely peaceful.

And this is the reason why China would never start a large-scale war, because it would fundamentally go against the terms of their social contract, that they will maintain stability.

Of course a younger generation has grown up never knowing the horrors of war, so they might be prepared to go to war... but the Chinese government has instead offered them business opportunities and wealth as a carrot, so again even the younger generation don't want a war, because it would hurt their businesses.

If people actually understood the history and social dynamic of China even the teensy tiniest bit they'd understand that China is not going to start a war.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Frungy That crap the Chinese put up with would not have flown in the 2,500 years of western history. My sense is that they just need to chill out and make do with some smaller states rather than propping up an empire that is past its time. Peace, human rights, and even economic development demand representative government. Face it: Confucius was an idiot.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If Japan has nuclear weapons, every other country in the region, especially the Koreas and China, will feel they need them, too. Will that make Japan or the world a safer place?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If Japan has nuclear weapons, every other country in the region, especially the Koreas and China, will feel they need them, too

North Korea and China already have nuclear weapons.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The only solution is the elimination of all nuclear weapons from all countries and I have held that view since the early 1960's. Japan has maintained its pacifist position for nearly 70 years and needs to continue with that position and is one supported by the majority of Japanese people.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

scipantheistOct. 16, 2014 - 02:22PM JST @Frungy That crap the Chinese put up with would not have flown in the 2,500 years of western history.

Clearly you have not read enough western history.

Peace, human rights, and even economic development demand representative government. Face it: Confucius was an idiot.

"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." Confucius.

Perhaps you have something to learn from Confucius.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Nope. Nothing to learn. The west may have had military rule and even sometimes rule by divine right, but it never suckered its populations into believing it was their moral duty to be good little servants. Societies everywhere are equally worthless. Only the rights of the individual matter.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

scipantheist,

Confucius was an idiot.

Really?

Do you think this was written by an idiot?

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.

Or this?

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.

Or this?

An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.

If you would like to read more "idiocy" take a look:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/confucius.html

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

scipantheistOct. 16, 2014 - 11:38PM JST Nope. Nothing to learn.

Then my condolences on your passing, because only the dead stop learning.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

We already have enough nuclear bombs to eradicate life in this planet. Now people want more bombs to also destroy the moon and what else in the name of "security against other nations". In my day dreaming fantasies I confiscate all the nuclear toys from every single nation and put them all in a corner in space till they learn to get along or they need to prevent some Armageddon. So no, I don't think more nuclear weapons is the answer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's better to have a Nuke and not need it than to need a Nuke and not have it! Every Japanese Shrine and Temple should have buried beneath it a Nuclear missile silo!

And all you wussies who say get rid of Nuclear weapons can be the Human shields!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

scipantheist,

No wonder you think Confucius is an idiot, you don't understand what he is writing.

You obviously missed the point with the quotation you included in your post.

It is "HE WHO exercises government . . . ", not "THE PARTY WHO . . . "

It goes on to say, "He who exercises government by reason of his VIRTUE . . . "

Definition of virtue: "behaviour showing high moral standards."

In other words "A person who exercises government by reason of his high moral standards (as opposed to his money, or power, or "clout," or handsome looks) . . . "

". . . may be compared to the north pole star . . . "

He doesn't write "has to be compared to," but "MAY be compared to."

The north pole star, by the way, is a star people used to use for navigation, because it is stable in the sky.

"A person who is in a position of leadership because of high moral standards may be a guiding star."

I don't see anything wrong with this.

There are, unfortunately, people in governments who DO NOT HAVE high moral standards. In China, in Japan and in the USA. These people use lies, bribery, force, clout, etc., to control people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yoda_Jedi_MasterOct. 17, 2014 - 03:40PM JST It's better to have a Nuke and not need it than to need a Nuke and not have it! Every Japanese Shrine and Temple should have buried beneath it a Nuclear missile silo!

Have you paused to consider the fundamental flaw in your argument? If you "need" a nuke that means that your country has already been nuked or a nuke is incoming, and all you're doing is making sure that you hurt them as badly as they've hurt you.

... what you're talking about is doubling the number of deaths in the name of revenge... and you won't even get the people responsible, since they're all already in nuke-proof bunkers because they knew it was coming, you'll just be killing innocent women and children.

And all you wussies who say get rid of Nuclear weapons can be the Human shields!

... it won't matter, because whether you're pro-nuke or anti-nuke or just apathetic, the mathematics of nuclear war mean that everyone who isn't a senior government official has a pretty much equal chance of dying.

However if Japan rather invested the money for a nuclear weapons program into more anti-missile and anti-ICBM systems, then they could shoot down the nuke or at least knock it off course so it splashed down in the ocean.

Now logically which option is better?

Dying with the "satisfaction" that you killed millions of women and children in the other country, but didn't hurt a hair on the heads of the people who started the nuclear war,

OR

Living because your government invested in anti-missile technology and shot it down, and then having the satisfaction of seeing the people who tried to start a nuclear war hung up in town square when their own people realise what could have happened?

Personally I'm a HUGE fan of option 2.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Oh, Frungy, stop coming on here with your common sense and your logical arguments.

You're spoiling the vibe for the nutcases!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

lucabrasiOct. 18, 2014 - 03:07PM JST Oh, Frungy, stop coming on here with your common sense and your logical arguments. You're spoiling the vibe for the nutcases!

I'm sorry hangs head in shame.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Two points:

they're all already in nuke-proof bunkers

Such things do not exist anymore really. They could go in some mountain or flee the country, but either way they would be bearing a pretty heavy price (homeland no longer exists)

However if Japan rather invested the money for a nuclear weapons program into more anti-missile and anti-ICBM systems, then they could shoot down the nuke or at least knock it off course so it splashed down in the ocean.

Would be awesome if that worked, but you could spend 100x the amount needed for a weapons program and still not be able to knock them all down for certain.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

scipantheistOct. 18, 2014 - 03:40PM JST Two points:

Both incorrect.

they're all already in nuke-proof bunkers

Such things do not exist anymore really. They could go in some mountain or flee the country, but either way they would be bearing a pretty heavy price (homeland no longer exists)

Bull on two counts.

First, nuke-proof bunkers definitely do exist. Mostly they're in mountains, but they're definitely there.

Second, anyone crazy enough to launch a nuke knows that their homeland will be destroyed. It doesn't matter if the country they hit has nukes, because a nuke isn't a "local" thing. The radioactive dust would drift across the world and regardless of where it hit other countries would wipe them off the face of the earth, either by retaliating with nukes or a dozen or more countries getting angry and invading with overwhelming force.

The world simply cannot tolerate anyone launching nukes. The international consensus is clear, any nation launching a nuke will be obliterated.

However if Japan rather invested the money for a nuclear weapons program into more anti-missile and anti-ICBM systems, then they could shoot down the nuke or at least knock it off course so it splashed down in the ocean.

Would be awesome if that worked, but you could spend 100x the amount needed for a weapons program and still not be able to knock them all down for certain.

Again, bull. The PAC system has a 100% success rate. The Russian S-400 has the same success rate as the PAC, and a longer range, and the S-500 (now in development) promises a longer range and shorter detection to launch time. The ABM-4 Gorgon, which is quite old, has a 95% success rate.

As for cost, a single ICBM (purchased, not developed) would cost $50m. A single S-400? Half that or less, about $22m. Actually developing an entire nuclear weapons program the cost per ICBM would be much, much higher.

And again, what would your very expensive ICBM buy you? Nothing but revenge. You would still be dead.

Or for half the price you could live and have the joy of hanging the people who launched it up by their unmentionables.

The mathematics seems easy to me. I'd really prefer to live.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Frungy,

Your posts make an excellent argument for no more nuclear weapons.

About time to revive the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_for_Nuclear_Disarmament

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Frungy

You seemed to prove my first point pretty well, yourself. And no there is no "consensus" that anyone launching a single nuke will be immediately attacked by the remaining nuclear powers. As for my second point, the systems you are talking about have no chance of shooting down an ICBM, they move too fast. This is what you need: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-Based_Midcourse_Defense. Price tag 40 Billion. It is still in development and good luck with those success rates (you need 100%). You could have a thousand ICBMs for that price.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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