The doubtful safety of the US nuclear umbrella

American Defense Secretary Hagel during his last visit to Japan “supported” the right to collective self-defense promoted my PM Abe and reaffirmed that the Senkaku Islands from the US point of view are administrated by Japan and fall under Japan-US Security Treaty.

With China getting militarized year by year it is definitely a good news. On the other hand, US Secretary of State John Kerry thinks that US diplomacy task is to stop Japan from trying to develop its own nuclear weapons. For Japan that is being protected by the American nuclear umbrella it is time to re-think its nuclear strategy.

There is an understanding in America that both Japan and Korea feel a threat from North Korea developing its nuclear missiles and this could lead both countries to start developing its own nuclear weapons. It seems that America is afraid of Japan starting to develop its own nuclear weapons.

Japan’s policy at the moment is not to develop, not to possess, not to import nuclear weapons. It fully relies to US protection. If Japan is to be attacked with nuclear weapons by China or North Korea it will not be able to protect itself and will not be able to retaliate. Instead the US will take up this role.

The basis for this approach is assurance that America will certainly retaliate with nuclear weapons. However, this assurance is not that sure. Japan at the official meetings is trying to make the American government officials to speak up about protecting Japan so that this “assurance” could be once again broadcasted to both Japan citizens and the rest of the world. But the times when America’s nuclear umbrella had overwhelming power are now gone. Now China has nuclear weapons and the North is developing it. American nuclear umbrella may not be that much of assurance any more.

Obama’s administration is aiming at “the world without nuclear weapons”. Possessing nuclear weapons costs a lot, then there is a risk of terrorist organizations like Al Quaeda acquiring nuclear weapons. So it may be understandable that America is revising its nuclear strategy. But can Japan really embrace it?

China is already a threat. It is not only aiming at supremacy in air and sea but is also deploying its submarines in the East China Sea and South China Sea. Nuclear missiles from these submarines can reach the mainland US. The North Korea also proclaims to hold “the new type of nuclear tests”. Basically the nuclear weapons situation around Japan is worsening day by day.

Japanese government welcomes Hagel’s commitment to protect Japan, but can we be content with this? While China can target New York and Washington DC, will America really stand for Japan and retaliate with nuclear weapons? Will Obama, who is proclaiming “the world without nuclear weapons” be able to actually use it? How far the situation should go before the US decides to use its nuclear weapons? The former Defense Minister official points out that it is the time for Japan and America to seriously discuss the nuclear strategy.

by naokawa & source


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