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Japan`s road toward nuclear armament?

Posted June. 21, 2012 23:42,   


Japan has added to its Nuclear Energy Basic Law a clause saying stable securing of nuclear power use contributes to national security, provoking criticism that Tokyo could be paving way for nuclear armament. The Japanese government said nuclear power will not be exclusively used for military purposes, but some Japanese say the country has officially opened the way for nuclear armament. As Japan rides a new security environment of nuclear arms development and given China`s rise as military powerhouse, Japanese use of nuclear weapons will throw the global security situation into a tense situation.

Japan`s attack on Pearl Harbor led to the Pacific conflict in World War II but the country is the lone nation to suffer an atomic attack. Consequently, Japan after its defeat declared that it would give up war and its military in 1947 under Article 9 of its pacifist constitution. In 1968, Tokyo announced three nuclear-free principles, saying it would not manufacture, secure or introduce nuclear weapons. Japan grew into the world`s third-largest user of nuclear power since the world trusted its pledge and permitted reprocessing of nuclear weapons, making Japan the sole country to do by securing no nuclear weapons. Now, however, the world is suspicious of the revision of the nuclear energy law by a country that had been found guilty of war crimes.

Japan has 30 tons of plutonium and 1,200 to 1,400 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, enough to produce up to 15,000 nuclear bombs. Tokyo also has rockets capable of launching satellites and manufactures long-range nuclear-embedded missiles. So global fears over Japan`s law revision is understandable.

North Korea in its constitution says it holds nuclear weapons, so the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Congress passed a law on relocating tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula. In South Korea, Rep. Chung Mong-joon of the ruling Saenuri Party is insisting that Seoul go nuclear. As such, lawmakers are proposing plans to respond to the North`s nuclear threat. U.S. President Barack Obama, however, opposes the relocation of tactical nuclear weapons and South Korea is also sticking to its non-nuclear policy. Japan`s shift in its nuclear policy is backed by legislation, however, raising fears of a potential domino phenomenon of nuclear weapons development.

Campaigning against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the U.S. will not just sit back on Japan`s move. China also will consider the move as having an impure intention though it has refrained from making an official response. If Japan fails to regain trust that it will not use nuclear weapons for military purposes, the world could lose its justification to urge North Korea and Iran to stop their nuclear development. If Tokyo wants to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes, it should withdraw its law revision instead of making excuses.