Recent reports about the imminence of the opening of a massive reprocessing facility in Rokkasho, northern Honshu, have analysts wondering about the Japanese government’s intent for its use. The real concern is that the plant could produce weapons-grade plutonium for manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Japanese officials and nuclear-industry experts claim that the Rokkasho reprocessing plant “is capable of producing nine tons of weapons-usable plutonium annually … enough to build as many as 2,000 bombs …” (Wall Street Journal, May 1). Global Research expresses the concern that “A nuclear-armed Japan would dramatically alter relations in Asia, as it would be less dependent on the U.S. militarily and more able to independently prosecute its economic and strategic interests” (May 7).
The oriental mind is notoriously far-sighted in its vision. A nuclear-armed potential has been on the minds of Japanese defense strategists for quite some time. In fact, the Global Research claims that “Within Japanese ruling circles … there has been a barely concealed ambition to have a nuclear arsenal. Japan’s extensive nuclear industry was established in part to ensure that the country had the capacity to build such weapons” (ibid).
Any astute foreign-policy analyst familiar with history and the specifics that govern international relations ought to have predicted that Japan would ultimately have to consider cutting its dependence on America for its national security. Given that three of Japan’s neighboring nations—China, North Korea and Russia—are nuclear powers, it was always but a moot point as to when Japan would proceed to develop its own nuclear defensive capability.
In their book The Coming War With Japan, George Friedman and Meredith Lebard observe:
Japan is dependent on imports for almost all of its raw materials. The more it produces, the more raw materials it needs to import .… In order to import raw materials, Japan must have access to the country that supplies them, as well as secure sea-lanes for transporting the goods. Securing these resources and the sea-lanes is both a political and a military problem, one that Japan has depended on the U.S. to solve. The issue is whether Japan can continue to rely on the United Sates and if not, how it can go about securing these supplies itself.
This issue has become even more critical under the current U.S. administration which appears to be so adept at constructing foreign policies destined to abject failure.
Germany has obviously read this and is responding by cranking up its behind-the-scenes maneuvers on developing a more assertive military strategy.
Full article: Japanese Defense — Going Nuclear? (The Trumpet)