Establishment media organs and political parties in Japan now seem to argue that Japan must have nukes to counter a nuclear-armed China, as this commentary in the Japan Times argues.

A nuclear Japan that remained a U.S. ally would be vastly preferable to a nuclear Japan that was strategically independent. After all, Britain (after the U.S. tried to stop it but failed) acquired nuclear weapons in the form of a sea-based deterrent. That met Britain’s strategic needs because (like Japan) Britain is a small populous island lacking strategic depth. And Britain remained a U.S. ally, its nuclear weapons serving usefully to complicate Soviet strategic planning.

The East Asia regional security equation is now changing rapidly. North Korea’s having acquired nuclear capabilities as a means of regime survival is setting off a series of consequences that may soon be irreversible. So it’s up to China, the U.S. and Japan to decide how they respond to these changes. But if present trends continue, a nuclear Japan seems more likely than not.

Yum. More nukes, a burgeoning cold war…..East Asia will certainly be an interesting place to be doing poli sci on for the next couple of decades….