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U.S. adopts new nuclear strategy

  • February 4, 2018
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All dailies reported in their Saturday evening and Sunday editions on the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released by the Trump administration on Friday, noting that the U.S. is set to develop smaller nuclear weapons and nuclear-armed cruise missiles in order to counter enemy attacks using conventional weapons if necessary. Yomiuri and Sankei said that based on a realistic assessment of the current global security situation, the Trump administration has decisively bid farewell to President Obama’s “idealism.” Nikkei and Yomiuri speculated that the U.S. is alarmed by the nuclear arms expansion of China and Russia and North Korea’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. 

While explaining that the NPR signals Washington’s policy of pursuing “peace through strength,” Mainichi said that Russia and China are bound to react sharply to the new U.S. nuclear policy. According to Yomiuri, President Trump called for support for his nuclear strategy by saying that “it is tailored and flexible to address the wide array of threats in the 21st century.” In briefing journalists on Friday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Shanahan also underscored that the new nuclear policy is intended to “maintain effective deterrence to ensure the security of the United States, its allies, and partners.”    

As for Japan’s reaction to the NPR, Foreign Minister Kono reportedly released a statement welcoming it by saying: “It signifies the U.S. commitment to extended deterrence for its allies, including Japan.” He went on to say: “The security environment around Japan is deteriorating rapidly due to North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear and missile development…. Japan plans to strengthen the deterrence of the U.S.-Japan alliance.” Mainichi wrote that Kono’s statement signifies Japan’s reliance on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, noting that the opposition bloc is critical of the Abe administration’s support for the NPR in the belief that it runs counter to the nation’s ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament. Atomic bomb survivors and peace activists are also reportedly concerned about the new strategy.  

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