Japan’s prime minister, who knows of the terrible tragedy that unfolded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has a duty to prevent nuclear weapons from ever being used on the Japanese people again. To do this, he must strengthen Japan’s nuclear deterrent.
Without such an effort, loud proclamations in support of a “world without nuclear weapons” will do nothing to facilitate the security of the Japanese people.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited Hiroshima with U.S. Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, where together they inspected the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and placed flowers on the Memorial Cenotaph.
Kishida, noting fears that Russia may use nuclear weapons in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, said, “Use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, must never be allowed.”
In World War II, it was America that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now, however, America is an ally, providing its “nuclear umbrella” (nuclear deterrent) to help facilitate Japan’s defense.
Emanuel, who struggled to find words to describe the horrible damage done by those bombs as exhibited at the museum, said that there was “no place more fitting than Hiroshima for understanding the importance of world peace.”
This visit to Hiroshima’s significance lies not only in paying respect to the dead, but also as a means to confirm the unity of Japan and America in our alliance and to spur international opinion against any Russian use of nuclear weapons.
Emanuel observed that when U.S. President Joe Biden visits Japan, he would like to visit Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Such a visit should be realized.
Kishida mentioned that it was necessary to take “realistic steps” to protect the Japanese people from nuclear weapons, but these few words are not enough. He must explain the importance of nuclear deterrence.
China, North Korea and Russia, all of which possess nuclear weapons, find no shame in ignoring international law. We cannot ignore the possibility that these countries will point their arsenals at Japan.
With current technology, there is no sure way to prevent a nuclear attack. The ability to counter-strike with nuclear weapons, whether by one’s own country or an ally, and the resulting ability to deal with nuclear threats, known as “nuclear deterrence,” is incredibly important.
This is not just about a Russian nuclear threat. North Korea has launched new hypersonic missiles that can reach all parts of the continental United States, and China is working swiftly to increase its nuclear force. Japan’s nuclear security environment is thus very challenging.
Continuing to adhere to the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles” (no possession, no manufacture, no bringing into Japanese territory), not even bothering to think about nuclear sharing, and even rejecting nuclear deterrence altogether endanger Japan’s security. Kishida and his government must confirm that America’s nuclear umbrella will function in the event of any crisis.