JAPAN AND THE BOMB: PERSPECTIVES FROM SOUTH ASIA
Newman, Sean A.
Meyskens, Covell F.
Kapur, S. Paul
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This thesis analyzes the nuclear motivations of three states (Japan, India, and Pakistan) and asks whether Japan may acquire nuclear weapons moving forward. The analysis found that, for Japan, nuclear restraint stemmed from U.S. security guarantees, which supplemented a mercantilist national strategy. With Japan secure, the country could pursue an economic policy, which made nuclear acquisition costly and counterproductive. India’s nuclear acquisition, on the other hand, was driven both by desire to acquire international status and underlying security concerns from two hostile, nuclear-armed neighbors: China and Pakistan. Lastly, Pakistan’s nuclear acquisition was motivated by security concerns, namely a deep distrust and antagonism toward a conventionally superior India, which it viewed as an existential threat. Pakistan initially sought security through alliances; however, the failure of those alliances to assist Pakistan at critical junctures convinced Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons to ensure its survival. The thesis concludes that reducing a state’s proclivity for nuclear acquisition requires addressing security concerns and grievances related to status and economic well-being. Thus, while it is unlikely Japan will consider nuclear acquisition in the near term, the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance is an essential component to ensuring that Japan’s nuclear motivations remain weak.
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