Japan from the inside out

Krauthammer: Convince Japan to go nuclear

Posted by ampontan on Thursday, May 28, 2009

THE WELL-KNOWN POLITICAL COLUMNIST Charles Krauthammer thinks the United States should encourage Japan to add nuclear weapons to its military arsenal.

He offers two reasons:

First, North Korea is a nuclear power. What we’ve done to deal with the country hasn’t worked in the past, and won’t work in the future.

Second, a nuclear-armed Japan is not only something for North Korea to think about, but also something for China to think about. North Korea would be unable to do what it’s doing if it weren’t for the enabling behavior of the Chinese. (Indeed, North Korean behavior suits Chinese purposes.) Mr. Krauthammer thinks this would make the Chinese get serious about reigning in their client state.

Yes, Mr. Krauthammer knows about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. My opinion? Nuclear weapons aren’t a problem if they’re in the hands of responsible states. Japan is, and the three existing nuclear powers in Northeast Asia aren’t.

Here’s another thought: It’s been apparent for some time that a major political realignment is coming in Japan, and that the politicians are waiting until after the next lower house election to begin changing partners.

Until now, most people have focused on the domestic issues that will determine alliances in the future, such as the relationship between the political class and the bureaucracy, and the devolution of authority.

The events of the past week might make international issues in general, and military issues in particular, a factor more visible to the public in determining that realignment than has previously been the case. For example, there are about 50 Diet members more loyal to Ozawa Ichiro than they are to their party, the Democratic Party of Japan. The only policy to which Mr. Ozawa has consistently adhered since the early 1990s is what some even in his own party call U.N. supremacy; i.e., Japan can take no military action unless it is in concert with the United Nations. There are people in the ruling LDP who would find that acceptable, and those in the DPJ who do not.

20 Responses to “Krauthammer: Convince Japan to go nuclear”

  1. Aceface said

    “Second, a nuclear-armed Japan is not only something for North Korea to think about, but also something for China to think about.”

    Well,personally I think a nuclear-armed Japan is something Japan to think about.

  2. […] (HT to Ampontan) […]

  3. melmo said

    Just to avoid all complications and bureaucratic difficulties, Japan should create “Sola-Ray” rather than pursuing status as a nuclear power.

    Or it should try to be like Israel, using rumor as a means of control. No one will be surprised if Japan produces an advanced nuclear weapon within one month, using its own technology.

  4. Tor said

    It will never happen. The Japanese people will never let it happen. Why is this debate even brought up? It’s like having a debate about Israel winning the World Cup. It’s pointless.

  5. Trapped in Brazil said

    Tor, really, will they not? huhuhuhuhuhuhu
    It´s about time to tear down that stupid “pacifist” constitution. The americans opened Pandora´s box in 1945. It´s allways difficult to be the first one to throw something like that on others but Truman solved that problem to any one crazy enough to use nukes other then as a deterrence. If you want your sovereignty respected, well, you should be able to deliver those babies at any place in the globe in 30 min, like they say: “if it is not warm whem it arrives, you don´t need to pay”.

    Problem is, Japan would have to posses a large number of nukes AND an extremely effective missile defense system to use it as a deterrence.

  6. Bryce said

    ”It´s about time to tear down that stupid “pacifist” constitution.”

    The Constitution does not prohibit Japan from possessing nuclear weapons. And it wasn’t passed, or even written, in 1945.

  7. mac said

    Funny enough … I was reading just the other day an American commentator saying that “Korea” was a big mistake and that they should have left it whole and under Japan’s control.

    Of course, speaking personally, I have similarly wishful thinking … such as I wish Japan had negotiated an unconditional surrender with France and then at least we would have better food and an even more stylish and secular society in general.

    But, as an serious aside, it would have made for a whole better quality of life for the Koreans, especially in the North, and a single nation is a hell of a lot less easier to work back to independence and unity than a divided one.

    The other thing I was picking up upon, again from American commentators, is how America was basically ruled at the time by a racist attitude towards all-bundled-together “Asians”, that the only approach to use towards them was ‘the firm approach’. Hence their mishandling of Japan.

    Nothing changes then?

  8. Georgie Pye said

    “I was reading just the other day an American commentator saying that “Korea” was a big mistake and that they should have left it whole and under Japan’s control.”

    That was actually America’s preference after Washington discovered communism in the 40s and 50s. The feeling was that South Korea would not be able to develop without integrating itself into the Japanese economy. Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Hee had other ideas though…

  9. Trapped, I did not say they should or shouldn’t. I was merely stating my opinion that it will never happen. I really don’t care whether the Japanese develop nukes. I just don’t think it will ever, ever happen. Just my opinion.

  10. Bender said

    Just curious, is his accent New York?

  11. newcomer said

    I’m having difficulties to pick up some words he said at 1:23-24, “A nuclear Japan is gonna reshuffle ? ? calculations.”
    Could anyone help me?

  12. Bender said

    He’s saying “reshuffle the deck on its calculations”. As in the deck of cards.

  13. newcomer said

    Oh, great!
    Thanks a lot, Bender.
    I appreciate it.

  14. ampontan said

    Bender: Krauthammer was born and grew up in Canada, forget what part. Doesn’t have the distinctive Canadian accent, however. Don’t know for sure when he moved to the US. Lives near DC, I think.

    He is a trained psychiatrist. Also suffered a diving accident in his early 20s, and is confined to a wheelchair.

    Joe Klein of Newsweek and other mags recently suggested that Krauthammer’s view of Iraq would be different if he could actually go there. Way to stay classy, Joe!

    And I doubt actually going to Iraq would change CK’s mind.

  15. Bender said

    He sounds east coast. Wasn’t he born in NYC and then moved to Canada?, which I would still expect a “Canadian” accent coming from him. Maybe his family being Jewish has to do with it.

  16. ampontan said

    Wasn’t he born in NYC and then moved to Canada?, which I would still expect a “Canadian” accent coming from him.

    I wouldn’t. He might develop one, he might not, but I certainly wouldn’t expect it.

    I grew up in Baltimore, which has an extremely distinctive accent, but I don’t have it.

    We moved to southern Virginia, which has an entirely different extremely distinctive accent, but I don’t have it.

    My father was born in Baltimore, but lived most of the time in New York from age 6 to age 18, and he has neither a Baltimore accent, nor a New York accent.

    My sister’s four children were all born and grew up in Louisiana (her husband is from there), and the two oldest have Southern accents, but the two youngest don’t at all. They can’t explain it themselves.

  17. Bender said

    Perhaps it has to do with your parent’s tongue. The only English I could pick up was West Coast, and this has to do with my school life. My parents don’t speak English. I also used to live in western Japan, but I never picked up that accent. My parents weren’t from that area.

    Does your Japanese have a Kyushu accent?

  18. ampontan said


    This is a New York accent, from a man who won the Nobel Prize. And who worked on the original A-bomb when he was in his early 20s. And picked the lock on the safe where all the secrets were kept for the fun of it.

  19. Bender said

    How’s he?

  20. ampontan said

    That’s a Sagan accent.

    He was born in Brooklyn, but doesn’t sound like it at all. Russian immigrant parents may have been a factor, as it was in my father’s case.

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