IT'S TIME FOR JAPAN TO GO NUCLEAR

Robert Malecki malecki at algonet.se
Wed Sep 18 02:37:35 MDT 1996


>IT'S TIME FOR JAPAN TO GO NUCLEAR
>by
>Eric Margolis 16 Sept 1996
>
>TOKYO -  Will Japan go nuclear?  Will the only nation on
>earth to have suffered nuclear attack finally drop its half-
>century old pacifist stance, and adopt the essential symbol
>of a world power, weapons of mass  destruction?
>
>The Japanese government insists it has no desire or plans to
>ever develop nuclear weapons.  This claim strains credulity.
>US intelligence estimates Japan can produce a nuclear weapon
>in less than six months. My sources say three.
>
>In fact, as I write, I'm looking at a Japanese cross-section
>plan of a proposed fusion weapon, or hydrogen bomb, using
>Uranium-238, that recently came my way.
>
>This drawing simply helps confirm what this column has long
>maintained: Japan has a top secret program to produce
>nuclear weapons on short notice.  Weapons-grade enriched
>uranium and plutonium are stockpiled.  The other two
>essential components of nuclear weapons, fusing and shaped-
>charged explosive forming, are ready. They need only be
>assembled.
>
>Japan's leaders would be criminally derelict in their duty
>if they DID NOT have such a program underway.  This is
>because underarmed, vulnerable Japan is currently facing the
>most severe external threats since World War II.  North Asia
>has become the world's most dangerous place.  Just this
>week, for example, China, Taiwan and Japan were feuding over
>the Senkaku islets off Okinawa.
>
>China is fast becoming Asia's economic and military
>colossus. Today, China's still modest nuclear forces could
>hit Japan with 100 missiles armed with large nuclear
>warheads. A single Chinese CSS-4 missile, carrying a 5
>megaton warhead, could destroy most of Tokyo or Osaka.
>
>One day, China's expanding submarine fleet could blockade or
>mine Japan. During World War II, US submarine wolf packs cut
>off all of Japan's oil and raw materials imports  by the
>Fall of 1944, bringing the island to its knees.  The A-bombs
>dropped in 1945 were merely the `coup de grace.'  Today,
>Japan is far less capable of feeding its larger population
>than in 1944. If not broken, a Chinese naval blockade could
>reduce Japan to near starvation.
>
>Two years ago, North Korea began deploying the new, No-dong
>1 missile, with a 1,000 km range, capable of striking
>Japan's second city, Osaka, and its industrial heartland of
>Kansai. N. Korea is developing the No-dong 2, whose 2,500 km
>range can cover all of Japan, including Okinawa.
>
>North Korea has at least three nuclear weapons. Whether
>small and light enough to be delivered by missile is
>uncertain. But North Korea has repeatedly threatened to
>attack US military bases in Japan in the event of another
>Korean war.  If Tokyo aids US troops,  Japan will also be
>attacked, N. Korea warns.  This could mean with nuclear,
>chemical, biological weapons and by commando raids.
>
>When Korea's 70 million people  eventually reunite, this new
>Asian nuclear-armed powerhouse will seriously challenge
>Japan,  economically and militarily.  Fierce Korean hatred
>of Japan, and deep dislike of Koreans by Japanese, augers
>future trouble between the two uneasy neighbors.  They
>recently had a nasty spat over islets in the Sea of Japan -
>which Korea calls the East Sea.
>
>Russia, that other unpredictable giant, has nuclear weapons
>targeted on Japan, a bitter territorial dispute with Tokyo
>over four Kurile islands off northern Japan annexed in 1945
>by the Soviets, and frequently attacks Japanese fishermen.
>Historical Russian hatred for Japan, and Russia's deep
>anti-Asian racism,  assure future tension between the two
>nations - particularly over resource-rich Manchuria.
>
>Even India, Asia's newest major power, poses a distant
>danger. India's development of long-ranged nuclear missiles
>capable of hitting Japan, and intensifying Indian naval
>activity, troubles Japan,  and other Asian nations.
>
>Japan is incapable of countering these rising threats.
>Critics call Japan an `Asian Kuwait,' - rich but incapable
>of self-defense. Japanese Self Defense Forces look
>impressive on paper, but have limited military value and are
>far too weak for a great power.  Many Japanese dismiss their
>military as `uniformed disaster relief workers.'  Recent
>defense cutbacks by Tokyo will heighten Japan's startling
>vulnerability.
>
>Consequently, Japan must increasingly rely for strategic and
>maritime defense on an uncertain United States. Few
>Japanese believe Washington will risk nuclear war with
>China, say, over the Senkaku Islands. Besides, US Pacific
>forces are shrinking fast, and can no longer alone keep the
>peace in Asia.
>
>Japan must quickly build and deploy a fleet of submarines
>carrying long-ranged nuclear missiles.  This is the only way
>to counter the threat of future strategic blackmail, from
>Korea, Russia or China - or. worse, nuclear, chemical or
>biological attack.  Without nuclear weapons, Japan is naked
>before its enemies.
>
>Equally important, Japan's wealth and technology must be
>urgently used to develop and deploy a layered anti-missile
>system covering the entire island. Not doing so is madness,
>given a nuclear armed, next-door North Korea, and future
>threats from other hostile Asian powers.
>
>Having just watched President Clinton back down from a
>confrontation with N. Korea over its nuclear arsenal,
>Japanese should understand that when the chips are down,
>they are on their own.
>
>A weak Japan engenders  regional instability and invites
>assault.  Japan must go into the 21st century as a powerful,
>well-armed democracy, not a helpless military midget.
>
>copyright eric margolis  1996
>
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