Captain Ed notes that the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso has said that Japan can go nuclear at any time should the need arise. It’s an open secret that Japan has a de facto nuclear capability. They have all the technology needed to create a working nuclear weapon, and may have some warheads that simply haven’t had their nuclear cores put into place yet. The Japanese could assemble such a weapon on very short notice.
The postwar Japanese constitution has limited the amount of military force that the Japanese are allowed to use, but there’s a new movement within Japan to become more of an actor on the world stage. The US should welcome that development — the Japanese have proven themselves to be a responsible actor that will ensure that the balance of power in Asia doesn’t end up on the side of totalitarian states. With the threat that North Korea poses to Japan, it’s more important than ever that they have a defense against a North Korean attack — which is why the US and Japan are partners on creating Aegis warships capable of intercepting and destroying enemy missiles. They’re more vulnerable than we are, and they don’t want to allow the North Koreans to use nuclear blackmail against them.
A more muscular Japan is a good thing for regional and global stability. The reasons for the disarmament of Japan are no longer present — the Japanese aren’t interested in conquest. They have much to contribute, and the consensus of the Japanese people seems to be that now is the time for Japan to become more than just a regional power. With the world being what it is, the more responsible actors that stand up on the side of democracy, the better off we all are.