Livin' it up, American style

Monday, October 16, 2006

The new axis of evil- North Korea, Iran and ... Japan?

The policy chief of Japan's ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party, said that Japan needs to revisit the issue of arming the country with nuclear weapons. Shoichi Nakagawa said that Japan needs to discuss this issue in light of North Korea's recent nuclear test. He was quick to say that he does not support the rearming of Japan, but he pointed out that Japan's constitution does not prohibit or ban the posession of nuclear weapons, and that owning such weapons might reduce the risk of Japan getting attacked.

The new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has flatly denied that Japan will rearm itself, and indeed, it seems unlikely that the only nation to have ever been a victim of nuclear bombs would consider arming itself with those same nukes. But the real issue is the fact that this discussion is even going on in Japan. Just 7 years ago, a vice defense minister had to resign after suggesting the same thing Nakagawa did. There is also evidence that this once highly taboo topic is becoming more popular among the Japanese public, and other lawmakers of lower rank than Nakagawa have also been discussing this issue. These are the same people who may be living in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, or have neighbors who are survivors of the atomic attacks.

I wonder what the Bush administration's response will be. Will Bush condemn this idea, and chastise the Japanese for even discussing it? Or will he turn a blind eye because Japan has been our allies since...well, pretty much since we dropped some nukes on them. Bush does have a history of picking and choosing which world problems he thinks are truly troublesome (A military coup in Thailand? Eh, never liked that prime minister anyway. Hundreds of thousands rioting in the streets of Nepal because the king/dictator was eliminating civil liberties? Civil liberties are so overated anyways. The 9-11 bombers were Saudis? Well, they're our friends, so let's bomb Iraq instead) Will Bush fight the nuclear armament of other countries as much as he has the arming of North Korea and Iran? Or will he once again pick and choose who gets to labeled a bad guy or rogue nation?


  • the (immediate) issue is more that any nuclear acquisition by Japan is likely to spur a regional arms race than Japan being the next evil regime. i don't think the possibility of the latter is great given the "democratic" institutions in place in Japan, and the experience of ww2.

    when all is said and done - and if the traditional argument of mutual deterrence holds water - it might not matter afterall that the two Koreas and Japan (we could throw Taiwan into the mix as well) have military nuclear capabilities. but the path that gets us there, if at all, is more troublesome. that unstable path - which will no doubt be fuelled by American, Chinese and Russian interests in the region - is the foreign policy issue here, imho.

    well, that and the threat that nKorea will sell those weapons to previously wmd-deficient terrorists, i suppose.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:34 PM  

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