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The reality of the stability-instability paradox

By Akiyama Nobumasa

Professor, Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law


Importance of arms control through Japan-U.S. cooperation


The following are four issues in which Japan should come to a shared understanding and cooperate with the U.S. in the strategic environment of East Asia, which will become more severe in the future:


  1. As a measure unique to Japan, Japan’s defense capabilities and national strength should be enhanced so that Japan will not yield to unacceptable demands under the threat of nuclear weapons;
  2. Strengthen deterrence measures under the Japan-U.S. alliance to respond to “hybrid warfare under the threat of nuclear weapons” and escalations that will become more complicated due to the involvement of emerging technologies and which span multiple domains such as nuclear, non-nuclear, cyberspace, and space;
  3. Establish rules and frameworks to compete with strategic competitors and pursue arms control to regulate their capabilities;
  4. Maintain the values and norms system of the nuclear non-proliferation framework based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and maintain the political foundation against nuclear proliferation in the global community.


Japan and the U.S. have a regular forum for discussions on extended deterrence. I cannot help but observe that the system for close policy coordination and discussion is fragile despite the importance of arms control, which is prone to differences in opinion and understanding. The strategic utilization of arms control under Japan-U.S. cooperation is often overlooked compared with other factors, but it is an important piece in completing the puzzle of “integrated deterrence.” (Abridged)


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