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  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Nonproliferation Review
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: Members of the Japanese government and the Japanese security elite welcomed the 2010 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) Report, praising its emphasis on the twin goals of pursuing disarmament and protecting international peace and stability. Unlike many non-nuclear weapon states, Japan does not condition its support for nonproliferation upon nuclear weapon states' progress on denuclearization. Despite general enthusiasm for the review in Japan, concerns remain. The NPR emphasizes the threat posed by nuclear weapons in the hands of non-state actors; from Japan's vantage point, state actors—North Korea, China, and Russia—are just as worrisome. While disarmament advocates in Japan had hoped the NPR would endorse a no-first-use doctrine or “sole purpose” declaration, defense officials and strategists were relieved it did not go that far, fearing that to do so would undermine US extended deterrence and leave Japan vulnerable to attack by North Korean biological or chemical weapons. US policy toward China shadows many Japanese concerns about security policy in general and nuclear policy in particular. In the absence of more clarity on the Sino-US relationship, Japanese concerns can be expected to increase. Nonetheless, the Japanese government has responded positively to the release of the NPR, in large part due to unprecedented levels of coordination and consultation between Tokyo and Washington during the drafting process. Tokyo now seeks continued close consultation on nuclear strategy and policy to develop a better understanding of the concept of extended deterrence and what Tokyo can do to support this shared goal.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Tokyo