Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Fumio Ota

【#850】Don’t Let U.S. Declare No First Use of Nukes

Fumio Ota / 2021.11.17 (Wed)

November 15, 2021

The U.S. Bident administration has reportedly sounded U.S. allies out on whether its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) due out early next year should include a declaration of no first use of nuclear weapons (NFU). As a U.S. ally, Japan should not admit the United States to declare NFU.

This is because a U.S. NFU policy would amount to the abandonment of deterrence against the use by China, Russia and North Korea of chemical and biological weapons, the same weapons of mass destruction as nuclear arms, consequently pleasing the three countries.

Nukes as deterrence against chemical and biological weapons

The issue of NFU arises in the U.S. only under a Democratic administration. Published after then U.S. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his speech seeking a world without nuclear weapons in Prague, Czech Republic, the 2010 NPR said, “The United States will continue to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks.”

Then Vice President Joe Biden delivered a speech at the U.S. National Defense University in February 2010 on how to implement the Prague agenda. A photo of Biden making the speech was carried by the 2010 NPR released in April 2010.

The coming NPR under the Biden administration is expected to include a positive attitude on NFU.

However, the U.S. Defense Department’s Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2021 released earlier this month pointed out that China might have continued to develop chemical and biological weapons in violation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

A report published last month by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency on North Korea’s military power noted that North Korea, which has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, used the nerve agent VX as a chemical weapon for murdering its leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam and was also developing biological weapons.

Britain has criticized Russia for its alleged use of a chemical weapon called Novichok for attacking a former Russian intelligence agent in Britain in March 2018, prompting Western countries to expel Russian diplomats.

Given such conditions in China, Russia and North Korea, it is stupid for the U.S. to declare NFU. Japan should block the U.S. from doing so.

Japan should revise its three non-nuclear principles

Meanwhile, the 2010 NPR included the last section titled “Toward A World without Nuclear Weapons.” Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida published a book with the same title last year. It is good to call for the ideal abolition of nuclear weapons. But it is contradictory for Japan to refuse to allow nuclear weapons to be brought into this country under its three non-nuclear principles while depending on U.S. extended nuclear deterrence. Such selfish attitude will not be justified forever. The time has come for Japan to begin discussion about revising the three non-nuclear principles of not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons.

Fumio Ota is a senior fellow and a Planning Committee member at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals. He is a retired Vice Admiral of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.