Naval War College Review


Will Japan go nuclear? Doubtful—but what if it does? It is possible to envi- sion circumstances that would impel Tokyo and the Japanese populace to cast aside their long-standing dread of nuclear weapons and to construct an arsenal of their own for the sake of national survival. Menacing strategic surroundings or a collapse of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty are two such circumstances. If some nightmare scenario did come to pass, the common wisdom has it, Japan could build a working bomb in short order. In 1991, Richard Halloran averred that “Japan is N minus six months,” although he saw no evidence that Japan entertained any ambition to tap its latent weapons capability.