A commentary article published in the Japan Times references a recent op-ed by Sasakawa USA’s Daniel Bob explaining why encouraging Japan to play the nuclear card won’t advance the denuclearization of North Korea. The February 25 article, by author Jeff Kingston, the director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, references other experts to support his argument that going nuclear “won’t make Japan safer and won’t lighten the American security burden.”
The article also cites a 2016 Genron NPO study, recently publicly released in the United States for the first time at a Sasakawa USA event, which found that only 5 percent of Japanese support their nation possessing nuclear arms.
On Jan. 24, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA’s Daniel Bob posted a compelling essay on the website 38 North about why encouraging Japan to play the nuclear card would not advance denuclearization of North Korea. Using “the threat of Japan going nuclear to compel China to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons would almost certainly fail,” he says — and reinforce “North Korea’s determination to keep its nuclear weapons as the key to its survival.” Moreover, Bob argues, there is no pressing need for such arms.
“Large numbers of American troops in both Japan and South Korea reinforce the U.S. commitment that an attack on either country would meet the same response as an attack on the United States. Theater missile defenses in Northeast Asia, the U.S. national missile defense system and an American nuclear arsenal that dwarfs that of North Korea provide further surety against the DPRK threat,” Bob says. “The proliferation of nuclear weapons would not only increase the chance of catastrophic war in the context of regional tensions, but also of loose nukes falling into the wrong hands.”