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Allies’ opposition makes declaration of “no first use” of nuclear weapons difficult

  • August 17, 2016
  • , Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Nikkei, Sankei, Tokyo Shimbun
  • summary

All papers wrote that according to U.S. media reports, President Obama’s purported desire to adopt a “no first use” of nuclear weapons policy is unlikely to be realized due to apprehension among U.S. allies and members of his cabinet. On the Washington Post’s recent claim that PM Abe personally conveyed to PACOM Commander Harris Tokyo’s concern about the idea, Yomiuri quoted an unnamed senior MOFA official as saying the premier did not make any such statement when they met at the Kantei on July 26. The paper added, however, that the GOJ has informally conveyed to Washington its opposition by saying that the adoption would weaken extended deterrence. Nikkei said the “no first use” policy raises doubts about Washington’s security commitment to East Asia amid escalated provocations by China and North Korea.


Several papers noted that since momentum for nuclear disarmament is growing following the President’s visit to Hiroshima, the GOJ may not be able to openly express opposition. According to Mainichi, a Kantei source said: “Japan is not in a position of saying ‘yea or nay’ at a time when the President is seriously looking into the option. We are taking a wait-and-see attitude.”

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