Between pacifism and pragmatism

Authored by: Takenori Horimoto

Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  February  2012

Print ISBN: 9781857436044
eBook ISBN: 9780203840849
Adobe ISBN:


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Japan’s nuclear policy comprises two aspects. The first is promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear technology such as nuclear power production. The second is the total negation of nuclear weapons, which is articulated as the so-called Three Non-Nuclear Principles: non-possession, non-production and non-introduction of nuclear weapons. In short, Japan is positive towards peaceful uses of nuclear technology but negative towards its military applications. Based upon these ideas and as the only country in the world that has experienced the wartime use of nuclear weapons, Japan has been an active advocator of the total abolition of nuclear weapons and has opposed nuclear weapons development by such countries as North Korea, Iran, India and Pakistan. This non-proliferation advocacy, however, has at times been criticized by other countries. Their major objection is that Japan does not need nuclear weapons because it is under the protective umbrella of the nuclear weapons of the USA; Japan is therefore seen as hypocritical.

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