Japan

Our analysts look at security and energy issues in Japan, where both nuclear weapons and nuclear power have a long and complex history.


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Nuclear Hawks Take the Reins in Tokyo

, China project manager and senior analyst

Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Foreign Minister Taro Kono shake hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis before sitting down for U.S.-Japan security talks.

Donald Trump’s plan for a more muscular US nuclear posture got a ringing endorsement from the increasingly right-wing government of Japan. Not long after the Trump administration released its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in early February, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said he “highly appreciates” the new approach to US nuclear weapons policy, including the emphasis on low-yield nuclear options the United States and Japan can rely on to respond to non-nuclear threats.  Read more >

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Japan’s Role in the North Korea Nuclear Crisis

, China project manager and senior analyst

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (second from left) consults with US President Barack Obama during a 2010 summit on nuclear security.

During a recent trip to Japan I had the opportunity to discuss Japan’s role in the current North Korean nuclear crisis with Yukio Hatoyama, a former prime minister. He led the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to victory in September 2009, becoming the only Japanese politician to defeat the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) at the polls since end of the Second World War.  Read more >

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Trump and Asia’s Strongmen

, China project manager and senior analyst

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe poses for the cameras with US President Donald Trump during his recent trip to Asia.

Earlier this month, from the gallery of the Diet building in Tokyo, I listened to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talk up his friendship with US President Donald Trump and their plans to pressure North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons. This was the centerpiece of his State of the Union address and the claim that convinced anxious Japanese voters to support Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) during the October 22nd election. Read more >

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North Korea’s Next Test?

, China project manager and senior analyst

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho warned reporters in New York that his country may place a live nuclear warhead on one of its missiles, launch it, and then detonate the bomb in the open air.

It would not be the first time a country conducted such a test. The Soviet Union did it in 1956, The United States did it in 1962. But perhaps the most relevant historical precedent is the Chinese test in 1966. Read more >

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Japan Can Accept No First Use

, China project manager and senior analyst
Estimated effects of a single Chinese nuclear warhead targeting the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka in retaliation for U.S. first use of nuclear weapons in a conventional war with China.

Estimated effects of a single Chinese nuclear warhead targeting the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka in retaliation for U.S. first use of nuclear weapons in a conventional war with China.

Most Japanese security professionals currently prefer the United States maintain the option to use nuclear weapons first. But should President Obama declare that the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter and, if necessary, respond to the use of nuclear weapons by another country, extensive interviews with those same Japanese security professionals indicate they would accept the change. Read more >

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