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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 February 28 - March 6  > Japan expected Obama administration to maintain and enhance US nuclear capability
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2018 February 28 - March 6 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Japan expected Obama administration to maintain and enhance US nuclear capability

March 4, 2018

Japan expected the U.S. Obama government to maintain and enhance nuclear capability in terms of both “quantity and quality” and to not reduce nuclear weapons, Akahata reported on March 4 at its top page feature.

Akahata revealed this fact based on a U.S. government document. The document is a memorandum which summarizes hearings to officials of the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC by the U.S. Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States in February 2009. The commission was established in preparation for the Obama administration’s nuclear posture review. Akahata also obtained a written statement which the Japanese side submitted to the U.S. congressional commission for the hearings. This is the first time for such documents to be made public.

The hearings took place on the sidelines of a commission meeting (February 24 and 25, 2009). From the U.S. side, nine people, including commission chair William Perry and vice chair James Schlesinger, both former U.S. Secretaries of Defense, participated in the hearings. The Japanese participants included Japanese embassy officials who were the then Political Counselor Akiba Takeo and the then First Secretary Kanai Masaaki

The Japanese embassy’s statement stated, “Japan needs, and will continue to need, the U.S.’s extended deterrence.” It went on to argue that “the U.S.’s deterrence capabilities should be (a) flexible, (b) credible, (c) prompt, (d) discriminating and selective, (e) stealthy/ demonstrate, and (f) sufficient to dissuade other from expanding or modernizing their nuclear capabilities.”

In the hearings, asked about "whether the U.S. ought to maintain its TLAM-N and ALCM capability", the Japanese side said, “If the U.S. decides to remove TLAM-N, we would like to consulted well in advance on how the loss of this capability will be offset,” and called for the deployment of another system to replace the TLAM-N system. The Japanese side also pointed to the need to update aging nuclear warheads.

The memorandum compiled by commission staff indicated that the Japanese participants said that low-yield earth-penetrating nuclear weapons would be “particularly beneficial for extended deterrence”. It stated that one of the commissioners told his/her colleagues and staff that what the Japanese participants said was “mind-blowing”.

Furthermore, the Japanese side referred to the operations of nuclear-capable ballistic missile submarines and the deployment of B-2 and B-52 bombers to Guam, and said, “The quantity and quality of the U.S.’s deterrence capabilities should be sufficient enough for potential adversaries to be dissuaded from expanding or modernizing their own nuclear capabilities.”

The two documents confirmed that the Japanese government threw up roadblocks in the path in case the Obama administration endorsed moves toward a world without nuclear weapons. They also highlighted the Japanese government’s position of not supporting the nuclear weapons ban treaty which was overwhelmingly adopted at the UN last year and demanding increased nuclear deterrence capabilities.

Past related articles:
> U.S. nuclear submarines make 38 port calls in Japan this year [August 31, 2009]
> JCP demands government break away from U.S. nuclear umbrella [August 10, 2009]
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