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Reagan, George H.W. Bush Administrations Aided Secret Japanese Nuclear Weapons Program

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Blast from the Past: Reagan, George H.W. Bush Administrations Aided Secret Japanese Nuclear Weapons Program(LINK)
Posted by Dave Emory April 9, 2012 One comment

Rea­gan, Bush I admin­is­tra­tions secretly armed Japan with weapons-grade plu­to­nium. Space explo­ration projects a cover for Japan­ese nuclear arms devel­op­ment. How far do these ten­ta­cles reach?

Edited by Steven Gaal
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By Robert Windrem

No nation has suffered more in the nuclear age than Japan, where atomic bombs flattened two cities in World War II and three reactors melted down at Fukushima just three years ago.

But government officials and proliferation experts say Japan is happy to let neighbors like China and North Korea believe it is part of the nuclear club, because it has a “bomb in the basement” -– the material and the means to produce nuclear weapons within six months, according to some estimates. And with tensions rising in the region, China’s belief in the “bomb in the basement” is strong enough that it has demanded Japan get rid of its massive stockpile of plutonium and drop plans to open a new breeder reactor this fall.

Japan signed the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bans it from developing nuclear weapons, more than 40 years ago. But according to a senior Japanese government official deeply involved in the country’s nuclear energy program, Japan has been able to build nuclear weapons ever since it launched a plutonium breeder reactor and a uranium enrichment plant 30 years ago.

Related Story: Japan Producing Huge Stockpile of Plutonium

“Japan already has the technical capability, and has had it since the 1980s,” said the official. He said that once Japan had more than five to 10 kilograms of plutonium, the amount needed for a single weapon, it had “already gone over the threshold,” and had a nuclear deterrent.

Japan now has 9 tons of plutonium stockpiled at several locations in Japan and another 35 tons stored in France and the U.K. The material is enough to create 5,000 nuclear bombs. The country also has 1.2 tons of enriched uranium.

Technical ability doesn’t equate to a bomb, but experts suggest getting from raw plutonium to a nuclear weapon could take as little as six months after the political decision to go forward. A senior U.S. official familiar with Japanese nuclear strategy said the six-month figure for a country with Japan’s advanced nuclear engineering infrastructure was not out of the ballpark, and no expert gave an estimate of more than two years.

In fact, many of Japan’s conservative politicians have long supported Japan’s nuclear power program because of its military potential. “The hawks love nuclear weapons, so they like the nuclear power program as the best they can do,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Non-Proliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. “They don’t want to give up the idea they have, to use it as a deterrent.”

Many experts now see statements by Japanese politicians about the potential military use of the nation’s nuclear stores as part of the “bomb in the basement” strategy, at least as much about celebrating Japan’s abilities and keeping its neighbors guessing as actually building weapons.

But pressure has been growing on Japan to dump some of the trappings of its deterrent regardless. The U.S. wants Japan to return 331 kilos of weapons grade plutonium – enough for between 40 and 50 weapons – that it supplied during the Cold War. Japan and the U.S. are expected to sign a deal for the return at a nuclear security summit next week in the Netherlands.

Yet Japan is sending mixed signals. It also has plans to open a new fast-breeder plutonium reactor in Rokkasho in October. The reactor would be able to produce 8 tons of plutonium a year, or enough for 1,000 Nagasaki-sized weapons.

China seems to take the basement bomb seriously. It has taken advantage of the publicity over the pending return of the 331 kilos to ask that Japan dispose of its larger stockpile of plutonium, and keep the new Rokkasho plant off-line. Chinese officials have argued that Rokkasho was launched when Japan had ambitious plans to use plutonium as fuel for a whole new generation of reactors, but that those plans are on hold post-Fukushima and the plutonium no longer has a peacetime use.

In February, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua published a commentary that said if a country "hoards far more nuclear materials than it needs, including a massive amount of weapons grade plutonium, the world has good reason to ask why."

"If you were distrustful, then you see it through a different lens."

Steve Fetter, formerly the Obama White House’s assistant director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, thinks China's concerns are not purely political.

"I've had private discussions with China in which they ask, 'Why does Japan have all this plutonium that they have no possible use for?' I say they made have made a mistake and are left with a huge stockpile," said Fetter, now a professor at the University of Maryland. "But if you were distrustful, then you see it through a different lens."

For at least four or five years, said Leonard Spector, deputy director of the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies in Monterey, the Japanese plutonium stockpile has been mentioned as a threat in Chinese defense white papers.

Japan, of course, has its own security concerns with China and North Korea. North Korea's nuclear weapons program is a direct threat to Japan. Some of its Nodong missiles, with a range capability of hitting anywhere in Japan, are believed to be nuclear-armed. "Nodong is a Japan weapon," said Spector.

There have been confrontations between China and Japan over small islands north of Taiwan. The dispute has recently escalated. In October, state-controlled media in China warned "a war looms following Japan's radical provocation," Tokyo's threat to shoot down Chinese drones.

Most experts agree that China is the greater threat, because as one expert said, "If North Korea attacked Japan, the U.S. would flatten it"-- and thus China is the country Japanese officials, particularly the right, want to impress with their minimal deterrence.

But experts also note that another nation in the region seems to have been impressed by the Japanese “bomb in the basement” strategy, not as a threat but as a model.

"China and South Korea will use this as an excuse, each in their own way."

There are fears that if Japan opens the Rakkosho plant, it will encourage South Korea to go the same route as its neighbor. The U.S. and South Korea have been negotiating a new civilian nuclear cooperation pact. The South wants to reprocess plutonium, but the U.S. is resisting providing cooperation or U.S. nuclear materials.

Jeffrey Lewis believes that the South Koreans want to emulate Japan, and says there is a “bigger bomb constituency in South Korea , about 10 to 20 percent [of the population],” than in Japan.

"The least of my concerns is that Japan would get a nuclear weapon," said Fetter. "But China and South Korea will use this as an excuse, each in their own way."

And, in fact, not everyone believes that Japan COULD go all the way. Jacques Hymans, a professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, believes the process would be thwarted by what he calls "veto players," that is, government officials who would resist a secret program and reveal it before it reached fruition. He wrote recently that Japan has more levels of nuclear bureaucracy than it once had, as well as more potential “veto players” inside that bureaucracy because of Fukushima. He said that any attempt to make a bomb would be "swamped by the intrusion of other powerful actors with very different motivations."

Still, even without a bomb, Japan has achieved a level of nuclear deterrence without building a bomb and suffering sanctions. That may be a more impressive achievement than actually building a bomb.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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[–]EatingSandwiches1 -

It should concern you because the impact of the era 1937-1945 between China/Japan has not subsided and their are still bitter historical wounds between all three countries mentioned in the article that could potentially one day turn into


Abe may bypass Japan's constitution to expand military presence

May 14, 2014 ... “It's a huge change,” Bryce Wakefield, a Japan expert at Leiden ... allow for
collective self-defense, has been more or less in place since 1954.”.
Abe's Military Push May Please U.S. but Rattle Neighbors - WSJ (CLICK LINK)
To bolster Japan's role in regional security, Mr. Abe wants to change the ... of the
constitution to allow for "collective self-defense"—meaning the military could ...
What's more, some Japanese officials are framing the military expansion in a way
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Subway Cult Martyred For The Foundation’s

Warhead-Makers In Fukushima

By Yoichi Shimatsu



Nuclear-weapons Sites

Now, 20 years older since reporting the subway affair, I have just completed the four-year search for secret nuclear-weapons production facilities in the Fukushima region and can now identify four weapons-related sites. Many of the nuclear scientists and engineers were killed by the March 11, 2011 earthquake that collapsed underground plutonium-extraction labs, releasing high-level radioactivity. Thousands of residents could not be rescued in the southern Minami-Soma, 14 kilometers north of Fukushima No.1, due to intense radiation levels streaming out of an underground nuclear-weapons plant, while Namie next-door to No.1 could be evacuated.

Why over two decades have the perpetrators of the Tokyo subway gassing spared the death penalty? Shinzo Abe and the rest of his Second Foundation owe a debt of gratitude to Asahara, Hayakawa, Seiichi Endo the chemist and the other inmates. For the current regime, Aum Shinrikyo are not state-sponsored terrorists responsible for mass murder, but are revered as patriots, heroes and martyrs.

Ignored in the war drive is the fact that the casualties of the clandestine arsenal of nerve gas and nuclear warheads are thus far innocent Japanese citizens. Intent on triggering a Final War, the Abe and Ishihara clans of the Manchukuo tribe are pushing to restart the plutonium-producing MOX-fuel reactors, thereby resuming the plunge into a Final War that will relegate the Japanese people and the rest of humanity to extinction.

Yoichi Shimatsu, a science writer based in Southeast Asia, served as general editor of The Japan Times Weekly and English-language consultant to Takarajima 30 magazine at the time of the Tokyo subway gassing. He has conducted extensive field research into the covert nuclear-weapons facilities inside the Fukushima exclusion zone. A related article is republished below.

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Japanese Government Pushes Militarist Legislation Amid Mass Protests

Global Research

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed sweeping laws through the Japanese lower house yesterday, allowing for the foreign deployment of Japanese troops under provisions for “collective defense” with its military allies, above all the United States.

The passage of the laws marks an escalation in the Abe government’s campaign, initiated when it came to office in December 2013, to revive Japanese militarism by “reinterpreting” the country’s nominally pacifist post-World War II constitution. It complements the agreement signed between Abe and US President Barack Obama in April, providing for Japan to participate in US military actions beyond its own shores.

The bills, which have been the subject of parliamentary debate for several months, were put to the security committee of the lower house on Wednesday. Opposition MP’s sought to block the vote, holding up placards against Abe’s legislation, and seeking to obstruct voting procedures. When the laws passed the committee, they boycotted the lower house vote on Thursday.

According to opinion polls, public opposition to the laws is as high as 80 percent, On Wednesday as many as 100,000 protesters gathered outside the Diet in Tokyo, while several thousand demonstrated again on Thursday, carrying placards such as “Scrap War Bills” and “Stop Abe’s Recklessness.”

The bills will now be put to the upper house, where Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partners hold an effective majority, and are expected to pass. The lower house can overrule any objections.

The laws may yet face legal challenges. On June 4, three constitutional scholars testified to a Diet sub-committee that the laws were unconstitutional. According to the New York Times, surveys have indicated that over 90 percent of Japanese experts view the laws as a violation of the so-called pacifist clauses of the charter.

The mass opposition to the legislation threatens to provoke a crisis for the Abe government, with numbers of commentaries drawing parallels with Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who was forced to resign as premier in June 1960, in the face of mass hostility to a US-Japan security pact he had signed.

The official opposition parties are above all concerned about the domestic and international implications of openly pursuing the same imperialist policies that led to the catastrophes of the Second World War.

Katsuya Okada, head of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the main opposition party, summed up the fear of mass anti-war sentiment. He stated, before boycotting Thursday’s vote, “It is a huge mistake to set aside a constitutional interpretation built up by governments for 70 years without sufficient public understanding and debate.”

Abe’s policies reflect the determination of the Japanese ruling elite to more aggressively assert their interests in the Asia-Pacific. They have been brought forward under the auspices of the US “pivot to Asia” and a military build-up against China in the region. As part of the “pivot,” Washington has encouraged the revival of Japanese militarism.

The entire Japanese political establishment is implicated in supporting this program, including the opposition parties. The previous DPJ government deliberately ratcheted up tensions with China in 2012 by “nationalising” the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

Abe all but acknowledged that his government’s legislation was primarily directed against China, telling reporters after Thursday’s vote, “The security situation around Japan is getting tougher…. These bills are vital to protect the Japanese people’s lives and prevent war.”

Since Abe’s trip to Washington in April, during which the new military agreement between the two nations was signed, Japan’s integration into the provocations of the US and its allies has escalated.

At the G-7 summit in June, Abe played a central role in inserting a clause into the dialogue’s communique, obliquely directed against China’s activities in the South China Sea. The previous month, the US and its regional allies, including the Philippines and Australia, had carried out provocations against China, over long-standing disputes in the sea. Both the US and Australia are reported to be considering deploying aircraft and warships into Chinese-claimed territory in the area—an action that could trigger a military conflict.

In June, Japanese spy planes, acting in collaboration with the Philippine military flew near Chinese-claimed territory in the South China Sea, in a provocation mirroring similar actions by the US since the start of the year.

Yesterday, Japanese top military commander, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, on a visit to Washington, told reporters there had been “talk” of Japanese patrols and anti-submarine activities in the South China Sea. Echoing the talking points of the Obama administration, he sought to present China as an expansionist threat in the region.

This month, Japanese forces are also participating for the first time in the biennial Talisman Saber military exercise. Involving some 33,000 Australian and US military personnel, the war games, held in Northern Australia, are a rehearsal for a US-led war against China.

Over the past two weeks, Japan has also escalated tensions with China in the East China Sea, with Abe’s cabinet denouncing a new Chinese gas field development in the region.

According to the Associated Press, US State Department spokesman John Kirby would not comment on the Abe government’s legislation, but underscored Washington’s support for the revival of Japanese militarism. Kirby said that the US welcomes, “Japan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the alliance and play a more active role in regional and international security activities.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, issued a statement on the laws yesterday, which declared, “It is fully justified to ask if Japan is going to give up its exclusively defense-oriented policy.”

Hua pointed to the 70th anniversary of the ouster of Japanese forces from China at the end of World War II:

“We solemnly urge the Japanese side to draw hard lessons from history… and refrain from jeopardising China’s sovereignty and security interests or crippling regional peace and stability.”

Edited by Steven Gaal
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