Skip to main content
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacts to North Korea's 6th nuclear test, September 3, 2017 (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Does Trump Want a Nuclear Japan?

Walter Russell Mead

As the North Korean nuclear crisis continues to deepen, the stakes are slowly becoming clearer. This isn’t only about the threat Pyongyang poses to its neighbors or even to the U.S. mainland. Kim Jong Un is challenging the foundations of the American position in East Asia. In the process he has exposed a deep divide in American thinking, laying bare the hard choices Washington may soon be forced to make.

Close observers have long understood that North Korea’s belligerence and nuclear buildup are pushing Japan toward fielding its own nuclear weapons. No nonnuclear power in the world is nearer to a nuclear capacity than Japan. Many analysts believe it would take Tokyo only months to go from deciding to nuclearize to having the weapons. In the ensuing chaos, it’s likely that South Korea and Taiwan would follow suit, with at least Taiwan receiving quiet help from Japan.

To read the full article on the Wall Street Journal website, click here.

Related Articles

Why Russia Won't Help More on North Korea

Hannah Thoburn

Weakening sanctions against the Kim regime is one way Putin shows he won’t cave to international pressure...

Continue Reading

Regional War and the Middle East

Hillel Fradkin & Lewis Libby

Hillel Fradkin and Lewis Libby on the Looming Crisis...

Continue Reading

Myanmar's Buddhist Persecutors of Christians and Muslims

Lela Gilbert

Lela Gilbert on the Plight of the Rohingya and Christians...

Continue Reading