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February 14th 2013

Abe Fellowship Colloquium - "World of Paradox: Expansion of Nuclear Deterrence in the Era of Nuclear Disarmament"

The nuclear doctrine of the United States, as elaborated in a variety of measures and documents including Obama’s general address in Prague in 2009, the Nuclear Posture Review of 2010 and the New START Treaty of the same year, clearly called for a reduction of the role of nuclear weapons and were seen as a concrete step towards nuclear disarmament. In East Asia, however, North Korea’s detonations of nuclear devices and launches of long range missiles in recent years made it clear that they now possess nuclear weapons. At the same time, the military expansionism of China in the Asia-Pacific region is shaking American hegemony in the region. Contemporary Japan, within range of PRC and DPRK’s ballistic and long-range cruise missiles, has seen its relations with China shaken by the Senkaku Islands problem, reflected in a rise in military tensions across Asia. In response to these problems, voices casting doubts on the effectiveness of the US nuclear umbrella and nuclear deterrence strategies are growing stronger in both Japan and South Korea. Though still a minority, some people have started to argue for nuclear sharing similar to the European NATO model, redeployment of US nuclear assets and independent development of nuclear capability to improve the reliability of nuclear deterrence. If the US were to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in its security doctrine, it might push Japan and South Korea to pursue independent development of nuclear weapons. Prof. Ikegami will examine the apparent paradox between the US deterrence doctrine and its pledge for nuclear disarmament in East Asia, a region threatened by proliferation of nuclear and conventional weapons.

Location: International House of Japan, Seminar Room 404, West Wing 4F