Imagine This: Japan Builds Nuclear Weapons

Robert Farley
By 航空自衛隊 - http://www.mod.go.jp/asdf/equipment/sentouki/F-15/index.html (licence), GJSTUv1, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57177631

Robert Farley

Security, Asia

What happens next?

Imagine This: Japan Builds Nuclear Weapons

Such a development would have had huge implications for the spread of nuclear weapons across the world.

During the Cold War, the United States supported selective nuclear proliferation as a means of deterring a Soviet invasion of Europe. The Russians might not believe that the United States would trade Berlin for New York, but they might find a British or French threat more credible.

Washington did not pursue the same strategy in Asia. Although Japan could easily match Britain or France in economic power and technological sophistication, the United States didn’t see fit to support Japanese nuclearization. Instead, the United States quashed Japanese nuclear ambitions whenever they appeared.

This first appeared in April 2016.

This decision was well considered, given the effect that Japanese nukes might have had on the course of global nuclear proliferation. But had the balance of power in East Asia shifted in a different direction, arming Japan with nukes might have made more sense. Such a development would have had huge implications for the spread of nuclear weapons across the world.

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