Japan should discuss the possibility of deploying U.S. nuclear weapons in the country to enhance the deterrent power of the Japan-U.S. alliance amid North Korea’s growing nuclear threat, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba indicated Wednesday.
While relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for protection, Japan, which suffered atomic bombings in World War II, has upheld since 1967 the three non-nuclear principles of not possessing, not producing and not allowing the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan.
In a TV program on Wednesday, the veteran ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker expressed his opposition to the idea of Japan possessing its own nuclear weapons, saying, “If Japan — the only country to have been suffered atomic bombings in war — arms itself with nuclear weapons, I think it means any other country should be allowed to have them.”
Ishiba admitted that deploying U.S. nuclear weapons inside Japan is an “emotional” issue that could spark a public outcry but asked, “Is it really right for us to say that we will seek the protection of U.S. nuclear weapons, but we don’t want them inside our country?”
“Not possessing, producing and bringing in nuclear weapons, and not even discussing (this matter) — is that really OK?” he added.
The Japanese government is stepping up efforts to beef up its defense capabilities as North Korea is advancing its missile and nuclear development programs.
North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, following the launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Aug 29 that flew over northern Japan.