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Ethan Doria

Mr. Phillips

English 3

December 16, 2017

Japans Reaction to North Koreas Nuclear Testing

When someone hears the phrase nuclear testing, they usually think about a bomb that can

blow up the world. Nuclear testing is safely happening all over the world today but on September

3rd, North Korea made a risky decision to launch a nuke right over Japan. The people of Japan

were terrified when they recieved a text from the government asking them to take protective

cover immediately. As a result, Japan's military and prime minister are now deciding whether or

not to allow nuclear arms on its territory as a defensive measure and thereby deter North Korea

and others from using nuclear weapons on Japan. The belief is that by Japan having the ability to

retaliate with nuclear weapons of their own, they would effectively stop North Korea from using

nuclear weapons.

One of the main reactions by the military and the government has been to consider

allowing the building of nuclear weapons. Within the last 50 years, Japan has considered

developing nuclear weapons multiple times. According to the article North Korea Rouses

Neighbors to Reconsider Nuclear Weapons by David E. Sanger. Sanger says, Japan briefly

considered building a defensive nuclear arsenal in the 1960s despite its pacifist constitution. in

the same article Sanger also says, In 2002, a top aide to Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister

then, caused a furor by suggesting Japan might one-day break with its policy of never building,

possessing, or allowing nuclear arms on its territory. There are numerous barriers to a Japanese
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nuclear program including; Japan's ability to build the nuclear weapons, the cost, the support

from its people, and the constitution.

One of the key questions is what it would take for Japan to have nuclear weapons? North

Koreas nuclear bomb test on September 3rd was a hydrogen bomb. Hydrogen bombs are

stronger than regular nuclear bombs. According to Choe Sang-Hun, he says, The North's

September 3rd nuclear test which Pyongyang said was of a hydrogen bomb, may have been

much more powerful than previously estimated. Hydrogen bombs are extremely powerful, and

they are more powerful than an atomic bomb. Choe Sang-Hun also says, The analysts also said

that the explosive yield from the September 3rd nuclear test may have been as much as 250

kilotons, based on revised estimates of the magnitude of the tremor created by the blast. One of

the issues with Japan making nuclear weapons is that they need to find and gain the resources to

build a nuclear arsenal. A nuclear power plant could be used to create weapons-grade materials

specifically uranium, but it is extremely difficult to do so. It also requires time to build nuclear

bombs. For these reasons, creating nuclear ability does not look feasible in a short amount of

time to be effective against North Korea.

The second area being considered for Japan is to start developing a stronger missile

defense system. According to Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro, they say, Japan wants to have a

land-based version of the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) system operational by 2023 as a

new layer of defense to help counter North Koreas missile advances. This option looks more

realistic as a solution to defend against North Korea. Japans current missile defenses can only

hit targets during the descending part after their main climb of the enemys missiles flight.

According to Kyle Mizokami, he says, In the late 1990s, Japan embarked on a tiered ballistic
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missile defense (BMD) system to protect the country from missile strikes. Umbrella coverage of

the Home Islands would take the form of ship-based SM-3 interceptors designed to kill incoming

enemy warheads in space, the so-called midcourse phase before they begin to descend upon

their targets. Japan wants to improve their missile defense systems, by making their missiles hit

other nuclear warheads before the warheads even start to descend into their territory.

The third idea for Japan is considering relying on the United States and others for

defense against North Korea. The U.S. sees North Korea as a threat because the missiles that

North Korea launched are landing in the Pacific Ocean in the direction of the West coast. This is

why the U.S. Military will be willing to help defend Japan against North Korea. In the short-term

Japan can rely on the U.S. missile defense systems while Japan can improve their own missile

defense systems. The author Brad Lendon mentions a quote stated by Hertling, But the U.S.

does have the forces such as the THAAD and Aegis missile defense systems in place to protect

South Korea and Japan from a North Korean first strike, Hertling said. This seems to be the best

short-term option for Japan if they want to improve their defensive position against North Korea.

North Korea is threatening the U.S. by trying to get as close as possible with their September 3rd,

2017 missile launch test into the Pacific Ocean. The author Choe Sang-Hun says, North Korea

flew an intermediate range missile over Northern Japan last month and has threatened to launch

more missiles into the Pacific.

The Japanese people are very concerned about nuclear arms in Japan because of what

happened in World War 2 at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. After World War 2 Japan was

demilitarized, and not able to have any offensive forces. In order for them to have nuclear arms,
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they are going to have to change the constitution and convince the people that nuclear weapons

are needed to keep their country safe from attack.

Based on the current situation in Japan, it would be difficult for Japan to create offensive

nuclear weapons. It seems that developing better missile defense systems would be more

effective for Japan at this time. The technology is not easily developed and the people are not

willing to support the idea of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil. To this point, Japan has a strong

position on where they want their decisions to act upon. Their strongest area would be the idea of

improving their missile defense systems while knowing that they are defended by the U.S.

defense systems.
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Works Cited

Kelly, Tim Japan wants a new U.S. Missile defense System amid fears of North Korea 30 Aug. 2017. Web. 26 Nov. 2017

Lendon, Brad U.S. Military options on North Korea Very 3 Sept. 2017.

Web. 26 Nov. 2017.

Mizokami, Kyle Everything You Need to Know: Japans Missile Defenses 2 Sept. 2017. Web. 26 Nov. 2017

Sang-Hun, Choe North Korea Resumes Work at Nuclear Test Site, Analysts say 13 Sept. 2017. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.

Sanger, David E. North Korea Rouses Neighbors to Reconsider Nuclear Weapons 38 Oct. 2017. Web. 16 Nov. 2017.