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CDPJ’s Shigetoku: Discuss the “non-introduction” of nuclear weapons

Below is an interview of Shigetoku Kazuhiko, First Deputy Chair of the Policy Research Commission of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), by the Nikkei’s Imai Hidekazu.


The concept of nuclear sharing is based on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s conception of security during the Cold War. It is completely incompatible with the understanding of nuclear weapons in the Japan-U.S. alliance.


Nuclear sharing for NATO means that nuclear-weapon states deploy their nuclear weapons in the participating countries and load nuclear weapons on fighters. In practical terms, it seems unlikely that the U.S. will empower Japan to decide whether or not to use nuclear weapons. The U.S. will want the exclusive right to make that decision.


Under the current Japan-U.S. alliance, the nuclear warheads of U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) act as deterrents. The deployment of nuclear weapons in Japan through nuclear sharing has little tactical significance.


U.S. nuclear submarines can move anywhere in the ocean. Not knowing the location of a possible nuclear weapon launch increases its deterrence.


If a nuclear weapon is deployed on the ground, there is a risk the host site will be attacked. In contrast, it is difficult to identify submarines in the ocean.


The Japanese government should disclose information on the “non-introduction” aspect of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, and the ruling and opposition parties should thoroughly discuss the issue in the Diet.


A secret agreement was made [between Japan and the U.S.] that allows the U.S military’s nuclear-armed vessels to make port calls in Japan. This is a discrepancy between the Japanese government’s position of “non-introduction” and the actual defense policy.


The government has not explained this contradiction in the Diet, saying that it is confidential defense information. The Japanese people have not seriously debated the issue, partly because they have not been interested in diplomatic and security policy. The government must not avoid providing an explanation to the Diet and the public on the pretext that it is a confidential matter.

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