Japan and nuclear China : Japanese reactions to China's nuclear weapons

Author/s (editor/s):

John Welfield

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

China as a nuclear power must have a profound effect on many aspects of Japan's defence policy, on U.S.-Japanese relations and on Japanese diplomacy. Ten months before China's first nuclear test the French military theorist, General Gallois, stated that the development of China's nuclear weapons would force Japan to adopt one of three courses: she could strengthen her ties with the U.S.; she could drift out of the U.S. orbit into a position of neutrality which would inevitably be inclined towards Peking [Beijing]; or she could develop her own nuclear weapons system.

In the event, however, China's nuclear tests do not appear to have had the impact on Japan that Western observers thought inevitable. In this paper, the author, through study of the Japanese press and of official documents, examines and official and unofficial Japanese reactions to China's emergence as a nuclear power.

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