Opinion / Editorials

Opposing US' no first use of nukes suits Abe's game

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-18 07:48

Opposing US' no first use of nukes suits Abe's game

US President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, US August 4, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Despite opposition from domestic interest groups, US President Barack Obama has reportedly been mulling a no first use policy for the country's nuclear arsenal.

As the world's sole superpower, even in terms of conventional weaponry, such a policy will by no means compromise its military supremacy. Instead, it would cater to people's desire for peace, and help reduce the chance of this fearful power of destruction being unleashed again.

Yet ironically, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the leader of the only country that has suffered an attack by nuclear weapons, has opposed the idea.

He reportedly asked Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, to convey his disapproval to Obama recently, saying such a policy would weaken Japan's deterrence against its enemies.

Even though it is capable of developing nuclear weapons, as the perpetrator of a war that killed tens of millions of people, Japan is constitutionally banned from doing so, and it relies on the US' nuclear umbrella.

Abe has previously argued that the country's pacifist Constitution does not preclude Japan having nuclear weapons for defense purposes, which raises the question about how credible is his remark that Japan is reliant on the US for a nuclear deterrent.

In fact, by exaggerating the importance of the US' nuclear umbrella for Japan, and opposing the US adopting a no first use nuclear weapons policy, Abe is once again seeking to stoke fears among the public at home in order to serve his own agenda.

Abe is set on changing the Constitution, especially its war-renouncing Article 9 that prevents Japan from engaging in wars overseas, in his quest to turn Japan into a "normal country".

Thus it is not really surprising that Abe has been fabricating and hyping threats from China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

It is worth pointing out that China is the only nuclear power that has committed itself to a no first use policy; a lead that all countries with nuclear weapons should follow as a guarantee that they will never be used in anger.

A US no first use nuclear weapons policy would not make any difference to Japan's security, especially if the country sticks to its course of peaceful development as charted by its pacifist Constitution.

Abe's stance runs counter to Japan's non-nuclear principles-not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan, and its expressed commitment to promoting international disarmament and non-proliferation. Instead of opposing it, Abe should be encouraging Obama to proceed with such a policy.

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