Comments on Tobias Harris “A nuclear Japan is not an option”, 29/05/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/05/29/a-nuclear-japan-is-not-an-option/
I cannot agree more with Tobias Harris that “There is no problem that will be solved by a Japanese nuclear arsenal”. Further, a nuclear armed Japan will destabilise the Northeast Asia, East Asia, Asia and the world, due to the particular history in East Asia in the first half of the last century.
Firstly China is unlikely to take that kindly and would probably do whatever it can to counter Japan’s nuclear arsenals. Secondly, other East Asian countries, including possibly South Korea, are likely to respond accordingly and a new arms race would start to counter balance Japan. Thirdly, Russia is also unlikely to take it kindly and would develop a new strategy to counter that. As a result, complete new, unpredictable and dangerous military and security games would emerge.
The proposal of using a nuclear armed Japan to force China to be more forceful with North Korea to solve the nuclear problems of the North is nonsense and nonsensical. The idea would lead to a chaotic East Asia, diverting its limited resources for economic development to a wasteful arms race. It is likely to turn many East Asian countries that suffered from Japan’s invasion or occupations before and during the Second World War against their former chief enemy. It is not in Japan’s interest either.
Would a nuclear armed Japan really force China to change its tactics towards North Korea? Yes and no. No first. If China perceives a nuclear armed Japan as a threat to its security as it is very likely, instead of a willingness to stop North Korea’s nuclear programs, China might tolerate them and take advantage of the likely nuclear rivalry between Japan and North Korea. Therefore the proponents of such stupid ideas, even assuming they are well wished, are unlikely to see that China is forced to take a harsher and hardline attitude towards North Korea. They are badly mistaken.
Now yes. As mentioned, China might change its attitude towards North Korea, but not to the like of those proponents’. If you have a potential nuclear threat from Japan, why don’t you use a nuclear North Korea as a friend to counter that?
As I said in my comment on Tobias Harris’ article of “The North Korean test: a study in powerlessness” the other day, North Korea’s violation of international laws does not give anyone the right to violate them. We need to find effective ways to enforce international laws and using legal means to bring North Korea to the road of denuclearisation.
Anyone who has a strong interest in seeing a peaceful, stable and prosperous Korea peninsular, Northeast Asia and East Asia as well as the world needs to be vigilant against those who wish to see a different world, and those who may be well wished but nevertheless so irrational in their thinking to make nonsensical proposals.