Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why China Is Worried About Japan's Plutonium Stocks

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the mox-not-bombs dept.

Japan 398

Lasrick (2629253) writes A fascinating account of why China is so worried about Japan's excessive plutonium stocks: combined with its highly sophisticated missile program, "Chinese nuclear-weapons specialists emphasize that Japan has everything technically needed to make nuclear weapons." It turns out that Japan has under-reported a sizable amount of plutonium, and there have been increasing signs that the country might be moving toward re-militarization. This is a particularly worrying read about nuclear tensions in Asia.

cancel ×

398 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Hmm... (5, Insightful)

Nexion (1064) | about 2 months ago | (#47264289)

Not too worried about Japan... I wouldn't cut off their fuel supply however.

If I had a dollar... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264291)

If I had a dollar for every thing that China is "worried" about, I would be posting this from my own private island.

If I had a dollar... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264593)

If I had a dollar for every thing that China is "worried" about, I would be posting this from my own private island.

Hopefully, not the Senkakus.

Logical Consequences (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264293)

China worried about the logical consequences of its own provocations against Japan as well as failing to heel those of North Korea (who essentially only China has open lines of communication).

Re:Logical Consequences (4, Interesting)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47264483)

Yeah, this seems a bit silly.

Japan is already protected by the US nuclear program, so nothing really changes. But Japan has long had a policy of being "ready" for quick weaponization if needed. And it was already the case that the US position is generally that Japan has served their probation and can change their Constitution whenever they're ready to pick up their own defense bill. Recent regional provocation by China only strengthens that.

If China is so "concerned," maybe they should only claim legal maritime borders according to internationally agreed formulas, instead of trying to claim the whole Champa Sea.

They can pretty much guarantee that their provocative stance will increase the militarization of their neighbors. It could destroy the WTO, too, since they're members now. If they push too far, sanctions against them might prove very popular in the US because of the effect it would have on US manufacturing. The only way to avoid these consequences is not antagonize their neighbors.

Re:Logical Consequences (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 months ago | (#47264605)

Japan are probably worried that they are not in any way protected by the US nuclear program. They worry that the US would stop short of getting involved in world war 3 if China really did want to invade Japan. By building their own nuclear arsenal, they remove that possibility and maintain MAD with China.

Re:Logical Consequences (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#47264621)

Exactly. China's claims over disputed waters with its neighbors is creating the conditions in which those neighbors either cozy up to the US, or, in the case of a heavily industrialized and wealthy nation like Japan, begin to reconsider their position so far as military position and investment.

Re:Logical Consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264755)

Japan is already protected by the US nuclear program, so nothing really changes.

The U.S. is not considered a reliable ally these days. Japan can not really rely on the U.S. to lead an effort against China or to defend Japan with more that words.

Re:Logical Consequences (5, Insightful)

adamgundy (836997) | about 2 months ago | (#47264765)

Yeah, this seems a bit silly.

Japan is already protected by the US nuclear program, so nothing really changes.

so was the Ukraine, in exchange for giving up their ex-Soviet nukes. see how well that worked out for them?

when push comes to shove, the US may, or may not, honor its commitments. it all depends on how much they want to go to war with China.

Re:Logical Consequences (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 2 months ago | (#47264805)

No. There were no deals involving military intervention in any way and form.

Re:Logical Consequences (3, Insightful)

adamgundy (836997) | about 2 months ago | (#47264945)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org]

they were put under a 'nuclear umbrella' - but only in response to nuclear threats. and since Russia has not used nuclear weapons, the US, UK etc are free to 'ignore' the problem. Ukrainians are understandably upset that they gave up their nukes.

see how Japan might interpret this action? what if China does something that upsets Japan? will the US get involved, or come up with reasons to ignore the problem? would China be much more careful around Japan if they were nuclear armed? I think so..

Re:Logical Consequences (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 2 months ago | (#47264931)

So instead of the current mess in nuclear free Ukraine we would have the same mess only with nuclear armed Ukraine. That is indeed appealing idea.

Serously? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47264301)

Do they actually think Japan... of all the countries in the world... would actually build a nuclear weapon, much less use it?

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264333)

Yeah, I mean, have they seen Godzilla movies in China?

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264347)

Do they actually think Japan... of all the countries in the world... would actually build a nuclear weapon, much less use it?

It's always the quiet ones...

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264525)

Do they actually think Japan... of all the countries in the world... would actually build a nuclear weapon, much less use it?

It's always the quiet ones...

Japan was never quiet. Only 2 fucking nuclear bombs detonating on their home soil brought them back to their senses. And you want a country like that to have nuclear weapons ?! Man I hope I'm dead before this world goes to shit (and it's already 60% there anyways).

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264635)

And you want a country like that to have nuclear weapons ?!

Oh, /. always putting words into peoples mouths. No on mentioned wanting Japan to have nuclear weapons.

Re:Serously? (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#47264691)

Oh come on. The Japan of 2014 is not the Japan of 1945. Virtually everyone from that generation is dead or beyond any political influence. I have some issues with Japan over its acceptance of some its activities during its empire days, but all in all, it has been a well behaved member of the international community and one of the West's most important Asian allies. I doubt it even wants to have nuclear weapons, but considering the way China has been behaving of late, any prudent Japanese government is going to want to make it clear that it's lack of nuclear deterrent is due to the decision not to have one, and not because of any technical difficulties.

China cannot continue to poke its neighbors with sticks and not expect that those neighbors will not begin to ponder just how much longer they're going to be poked. Japan is a major industrial power, one of the wealthiest and most advanced nations on the planet, and if China doesn't want to feel threatened by Japan, then it needs to stop pushing buttons itself.

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264867)

Besides, have you seen the cartoon porn that comes from Japan? Losing that would mean we'd have to go back to watching plain-looking porn from Sweden.

Re:Serously? (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 2 months ago | (#47264873)

You're right, the Japan of 2014 likes to pretend the Japan of 1945 never happened.

Considering their history, China has every right to be concerned about Japan even looking at them funny...

Re:Serously? (5, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 months ago | (#47264363)

A lot more people died from conventional bombs in WWII than nuclear ones, even in Japan, and we're all still building and dropping those.

Re:Serously? (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 2 months ago | (#47264511)

The difference between a conventional explosive and a nuclear one is that in one case, when the damage is done and minutes later the region is inhabitable again... in the other, add a dozen orders of magnitude and it *may* be safe to return.

Re:Serously? (5, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47264629)

Actually deaths from conventional firebombings were of similar in magnitude of lives lost and destruction.

And (like coal), burning things produces a lot of long term pollutants that raise the cancer and early mortality rate. It is more what you are "used" to. Coal actually kills 167.5 people per terrawatt each and every year than nuclear. Coal deaths number in the thousands and when coal seams get set on fire- the area can be uninhabitable for decades (like nuclear) and be polluted for centuries with mercury and dioxins (very similar to radiation). Fukishima made 780 square kilometers uninhabitable. The Jhaqira coal fire has made 700 square kilometers uninhabitable. And the smoke affects 400,000 people continuously day in day out.

Conventional bombs from world war I are polluting water in france and belgium and killed two belgium workers in march.

We have some weird reaction to nuclear because we are not used to it. Conventional mines have left some areas uninhabitable and are still killing and maiming people decades later.

The after effects of acoustic shock from "ordinary" bombing can linger until a persons premature death years later.

I agree nukes are terrible. But I think your "comfort" and familiarity with conventional weapons leads you to overestimate their long and short term safety.

Re:Serously? (0)

Scottingham (2036128) | about 2 months ago | (#47264751)

My kingdom for mod points.

Re:Serously? (0)

Megol (3135005) | about 2 months ago | (#47264829)

Ditto. :/

Re:Serously? (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 2 months ago | (#47264883)

Maybe I missed the memo... Have we figured out how to rapidly mobilize a coal mine to wherever we want to make a statement?

Yes, conventional weapons can cause serious deaths too, there is no debating that, and we as a species are getting ever more effective at making even more ingenious ways of killing each other.

Let's say that a bomb goes off in downtown Tokyo killing everyone. No potential for "long term injuries or complications from flying debris", everyone. If that explosion was a conventional chemical explosion, someone could walk into downtown Tokyo tomorrow and be safe from the explosive itself, and any danger would come solely from the rubble. If that bomb were biological or nuclear, entering downtown Tokyo would be extremely dangerous for months, years, decades, or longer depending on just what kind we are talking about.

And please don't be so obtuse that you can't realize that there is a wild difference between a nuclear weapon and a nuclear power source. One is designed to render an area uninhabitable *after* causing massive devastation. The other is designed to provide large amounts of energy in a controlled fashion that barring a major outside influence is safe.

Re:Serously? (2)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 months ago | (#47264757)

I'm not saying they're not worse, I'm saying that being the victim of something doesn't make people less likely to do that to someone else. I'll bet you that right now as we speak there is a 1 legged guy somewhere in Africa setting a land-mine.

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264801)

Some nuclear weapons do not leave the target area radiating. They just kill the living organisms.

Re:Serously? (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 months ago | (#47264843)

in the other, add a dozen orders of magnitude and it *may* be safe to return.

Actually, the sites of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are inhabitable today, or would be. Both sites are public parks (the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park [wikipedia.org] and the Nagasaki Peace Park [wikipedia.org] ), which were opened in the 1950s.

Re:Serously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264861)

You realize that people live today in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, right? They were rebuilt quite quickly after the war was over. No particularly horrid long term contamination.

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264535)

Yes, but Japan in particular have a paranoia when it comes to nuclear. Godzilla is the equivalent of terrists in Hollywood flicks.

Re:Serously? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47264905)

I'm amazed that you can spell Godzilla correctly but failed with the word terrorists.

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264785)

In WWII the threat was that the US could produce and drop one nuke every two weeks. That'll even up the scales pretty quickly. Besides, you'd have to count how many *japanese* died to conventional bombs. IIRC the japanese home islands weren't bombed as much the European theater, so those numbers would be more even to start with.

The reason we're still dropping conventional bombs is the threat of mutually assured destruction. so, ironically, they are used exactly because less people would die in the end.

As to the GP's point, I would agree that of all the countries in the world, I would trust Japan with nukes the most, as they know what it actually means to drop one of those. (And they don't seem the vengeful type to nuke the world just to take us with them)

Re:Serously? (2)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47264369)

I wouldn't put anything past any government in this world.

Based on the content of lots of Japanese pop culture, I don't think that the Japanese feel a lot different about their government either.

As long as there are belligerent nations in close proximity to each other there will be interest in powerful weapons, even if the persons that would be responsible for such developments might find them in distaste. Do recall that Nobel thought that Dynamite would make war so horrible that no one would want to fight it anymore, he was wrong.

Sometimes I wonder if Japan surrendered so unconditionally because they thought that we had a lot more of them ready to drop. Had they known that we pretty much exhausted our supply of weapons with those two then perhaps they would have kept on fighting. I'm also curious when exactly it became general knowledge that we were essentially bluffing.

Re:Serously? (-1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47264507)

Japan was already suing for peace. They had run out of bombs, and the kamikaze were coming because they had no fuel to get back to Japan; die in the ocean, or die smashing your plane into a military target.

The arguments around this drift over time. A lot of veterans have started telling me Japan was ready to drop plague-infested fleas on America. They'd hit California, and it would wipe out the entire nation. They've already tested them on China, and it worked. ... except China wasn't wiped out, and Japan could never reach California. The whole story paints a narrative where varied analysis tells you that either it's made-up completely, or Japan has a weapon that kills as many people as a conventional drop-bomb.

The truth is the nuclear attack was a science experiment. Military has a long history of telling leaders they need to strike for whatever reason, just to try out their own weaponry. Japan is running out of weapons? They're getting desperate! They'll kill us all soon! We won't be able to take Japan, even though we've outlasted them, and they're out of fight and we have enough bombs to pave their countryside in blood and bones! We need to demoralize them further! DROP THE BOMB! DROP! THE! BOMB!

Truman did what he thought was necessary. Somebody, somewhere, knew it was bullshit, and put a lot of effort into drawing up a narrative that would make Truman think it was necessary.

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264587)

And it's funny how we're so scared of other countries getting and using nukes when we're basically the only country that used an atomic bomb against someone else, and it killed hundreds of thousands of innocents to boot.

Re:Serously? (5, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47264603)

Everybody in the modern world should get out of bed every morning and thank $deity for Harry Truman's decision to drop those two little bombs. If the world hadn't seen firsthand what those bombs were capable of, we certainly would have found another excuse to try them out, lots and lots more, with much bigger yields. Maybe Korea, maybe the Cuban Missile Crisis, maybe Viet Nam; first a "tactical" nuke or two, then an all-out exchange. Harry Truman should be sainted.

Re:Serously? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47264781)

Perhaps. Messing with the timeline is considered a very bad idea for just about this reason.

But you see my point. It was a bad decision on false pretense. Japan was tapped out, like a man living with a nymphomaniac after two weeks.

Re:Serously? (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about 2 months ago | (#47264915)


Only the first was was necessary.

Re:Serously? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 months ago | (#47264695)

The Japanese are bad motherfuckers. All of this surrender talk is just disrespectful. It has the appearance of being something sweet and liberal but it's really just blatant racism. You think that they are weak inferior non-white people that be "easily dealt with".

The Germans fought tooth and nail and so did the Russians. We would do no different if the roles had been reversed.

Re:Serously? (1, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47264811)

The germans didn't run out of fuel and weapons. The germans had endless bombs, they had processes to turn natural gas into diesel (and they had tons of nat), and they didn't stop until we came in and kicked their asses. They still had weapons to fight with.

The Japanese were running out of fuel, they were out of bombs. All they had left were bodies, and they were rapidly approaching a situation where they'd be trapped on a tiny island that we could just bomb the shit out of at our leisure. The whole collective of Japan would have to be severely retarded not to surrender; they may as well strip naked and march into the ocean to drown.

Re:Serously? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#47264821)

There were no high level pleas for peace from Japan. Tojo and his government were of the opinion that Japan should go down in flames rather than surrender. And the Americans were likely concerned about the Soviets as well. A quick end to the war and surrender to the US was far preferable to what happened in Central and Eastern Europe. In the end the Soviets did seize some Japanese territory, and if the land invasion had gone ahead, at least some portion of the main islands would have ended up in the USSR's hands.

Real reason for suing peace.... (1)

jozmala (101511) | about 2 months ago | (#47264937)

Japan knew it has lost and All it could hope was make cost of victory high enough for US agree to reasonable peace terms through soviet mediation. And keep some of its empire on continent. However as soon as soviet declared war on Japan there was imminent risk of loosing Japanese Nuclear weapons program to soviet hands AND invasion and annexation of more Japanese territory by soviets who Japanese knew where willing to sacrifice lots of men in order to achieve their goals.
Nuclear bombs where not decisive but they came about time in which situation changed for Japanese from poor to terrible. And for effect of nuclear bombs there where not many targets available anymore to use them, conventional bombing had dealt with cities already.
Now here's a question IF soviets would of kept their non-aggression pact, then could Japan hold out for a year so that their Manhattan project in North Korea could of resulted some real counter bomb, especially with combined with V2 rockets Japanese got From Germans before their surrender. Lets say Japanese puts one V2 with fatman sized bomb in middle of invasion fleet, and then asks USA for status quo ante bellum, I think they could of gotten that. They could bluff that they have nuclear V2:s on submarines Waiting to revenge Nagasakin on continental USA.

Re:Serously? (1)

machineghost (622031) | about 2 months ago | (#47264941)

There's a strong case to be made that the nuclear attack was NOT a science experiment, nor was it intended to (further) demoralize the Japanese. Rather, many historians would argue that the US, seeing the Cold War on the horizon, wanted to demonstrate to it's then-ally-but-clearly-future-enemy Russia just what America was capable of.

Re:Serously? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47264561)

Sometimes I wonder if Japan surrendered so unconditionally because they thought that we had a lot more of them ready to drop.

Wouldn't you?

When that happened I suspect it was a big giant moment of "oh, crap, we're all gonna die".

A nuke is a pretty compelling argument when nobody has ever used one before.

Re:Serously? (2)

Stargoat (658863) | about 2 months ago | (#47264583)

Japanese pop culture

Yeah, I liked that manga too.

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264925)

Sometimes I wonder if Japan surrendered so unconditionally because they thought that we had a lot more of them ready to drop.

You had! Well, not "ready to drop". With the production rates at the time, you were able to build about a nuke per month. Keep fighting (loosing 5 of your own for each american invader killed) while loosing one major city or army base each month? I don't think so. And of course, if they insisted on fighting to the bitter end, the natural next move would be to target the high command. The Japanese war effort was directed from the top, and definitely not prepared for improvisation after loosing Tokyo.

Re:Serously? (4, Interesting)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 2 months ago | (#47264371)

It's pretty widely believed that Japan essentially *has* nuclear weapons. But by not completing the final assembly of the warheads, they don't violate the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Estimates on how much time it would take to assemble the warheads should they decide to violate that treaty range from hours to months.

Re:Serously? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47264509)

No, their position is not that they could violate the Treaty. The theory is that if they want to withdraw from the Treaty, then they could weaponize ASAP, with the only bottleneck on manufacturing.
And no, that doesn't mean they already "have" them. I know tenses are hard, but come on. If that means they "have" them already, and they turn out not to build them for decades, then when they do finally build them, by your logic they'd have already had them for decades!

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264759)

You realize you're trying to explain tense to Ralph Wiggam, right? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Wiggum

Re:Serously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264383)

China is still a little sensitive regarding military actions of Japan, given the terrible atrocities committed by the Japanese during WW2. China still cautiously views Japan as an aggressor and given Japan's industrial might and know-how, it wouldn't take very long for Japan to re-militarize.
All it takes is one charismatic mad-man.....

Re:Serously? (4, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 months ago | (#47264447)

The Chinese government still uses Japan and the atrocities committed in the 1930s and 1940s as a bogeyman to distract from the atrocities committed by the Chinese government against it's own people in the 1940s and 1950s.

Re:Serously? (2, Insightful)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 2 months ago | (#47264555)

Which Chinese government? The KMT under Chiang Kai-Shek, or the CCP under Mao? The KMT was arguably far more corrupt than the CCP and deserved to be exiled to Taiwan. The KMT also did not control China, it only controlled a third-to-half of China. And if you argue that the KMT was the recognized government of China at the time, then you have to acknowledge that the KMT under CKS committed atrocities against the Communists (see the Long March) when it could have devoted those resources instead to driving the Japanese out of Manchuria. The CCP emerged from the Long March an ideologically pure, people-driven movement that did away with the crony-ridden corruption of the KMT and also countered the bellicose tyranny of Stalin. It wasn't until Mao succumbed to his own fear of becoming irrelevant and ordered the Great Leap Forward plus the Cultural Revolution that the CCP became as bad as the KMT.

TDLR: All sides committed atrocities in that period--the argument is over which flavor of nationalism can shout the loudest

Re:Serously? (3, Informative)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 months ago | (#47264617)

I was referring to the CCP. They may be tied with the KMT in terms of oppressive quality, but the CCP is the undisputed world leader in terms of quantity of people put in the ground.

Re:Serously? (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 2 months ago | (#47264795)

The Chinese government still uses Japan and the atrocities committed in the 1930s and 1940s as a bogeyman to distract from the atrocities committed by the Chinese government against it's own people in the 1940s and 1950s.

Let's not forget the Cultural Revolution (1960s). I don't think I have ever seen figures over the deathtoll that were lower than a million.

Re:Serously? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 months ago | (#47264513)

given Japan's industrial might and know-how, it wouldn't take very long for Japan to re-militarize. All it takes is one charismatic mad-man.....

...or a loss of confidence in the US's ability or willingness to provide protection.

Re:Serously? (5, Insightful)

Ancil (622971) | about 2 months ago | (#47264657)

China is still a little sensitive regarding military actions of Japan

All it takes is one charismatic mad-man.....

Japan is a little sensitive about China sitting on dozens of ICBM's and claiming a large part of the western Pacific Ocean as their own.

All it takes is one prudent leader.

Re:Serously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264835)

Japan is not as terrible as the CCP against the Chinese people. CCP killed 80,000,000 Chinese. Japan may be a few million.

Absofuckinglutely (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264393)

Japan lives in a dangerous neighborhood, China is an expansive power making threats in the South China Sea, and the Obama Administration has proven feckless at supporting allies (see also: Ukraine, Iraq).

The fact that nuclear weapons offend the tender sensibilities of Western liberals doesn't enter into their political calculations.

Re:Absofuckinglutely (1)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | about 2 months ago | (#47264907)

Nice troll. Ukraine isn't a US ally, and Iraq refused to sign an agreement with the US to keep US forces in country unless we allowed our troops to be subject to Iraqi law (fat chance of that!)..

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264421)

They probably already did. The Jap navy experimented with nukes during the 2nd world war and quite possibly did a test fire of one bomb, near Korea. It is not well known, since so much was destroyed in the chaos at the end of the war.

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264439)

No, they don't. But making these kinds of accusations is just one way that China is attempting to prepare the battlefield as they get ready to start WW3.

Re:Serously? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47264491)

What is the theory, here? Do you think they'd have some sort of irrational fear based on things that happened before they were born, or would they just feel awkward? I really don't see how this is a valid theory of military behavior...

Re:Serously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264499)

Do they actually think Japan... of all the countries in the world... would actually build a nuclear weapon, much less use it?

My my my how we forget history.
Militarism + Japan = bad,
Militarism + Revision + Negationism + Japan = powder keg ready to explode.

The last thing the world needs is a nuclear armed Japan.

Re:Serously? (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 2 months ago | (#47264503)

Yes. Japans aging population against China's 1.x billion people.
Long standing animosity between the two countries.
The Japanese probably see Weakening US resolve to stand up to China over Taiwan and realize that it might not be an isolated phenomenon.
Tensions with Russia over the Kurile islands.
North Korea has not only fired rockets over Japan, but also shown time and time again the desire to develop nuclear weapons of their own.

Why WOULDN'T Japan want a nuclear deterrent?

I think Japan should be nuclear weapon capable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264547)

From a Japanese national security perspective it makes sense to be nuclear armed to counter the threats from China and North Korea. I would not put any faith in a US nuclear umbrella with its implied threat of nuclear counter attack. The US might not be so willing to counter-attack if that puts the US mainland or Hawaii in nuclear jeopardy. But it also probably makes sense to keep the capability in place without actually assembling any warheads since that would turn the regional fear of China back into a fear of Japanese aggression based on the experience of World War II. That geopolitical pressure combined with pressure from Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors and their families. So, it makes perfect sense to be nuclear weapon capable without actually building nuclear weapons until you start feeling directly threatened.

Re:Serously? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#47264633)

I think if Japan were sufficiently provoked, yes, I think they would build a nuclear bomb. I have a pretty good suspicion, considering Japans technical sophistication, that a nuclear weapons program would not be hard to achieve, and clearly China knows this.

Re:Serously? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#47264891)

Why not? Nobody else has such a sharp understanding of exactly how effective they are...

Sign a treating promising to protect them if they (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264339)

Just sign a treating promising to protect them if they give up nukes.... It worked great for Ukraine. Based on history, China and the USA should sign promising to protect them.

Nuclear Whale Hunt (2)

discord5 (798235) | about 2 months ago | (#47264341)

At the request of the international community they'll stop sticking harpoons in whales, but the request didn't mention anything about nuking the whales.

Re:Nuclear Whale Hunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264441)

Nuke the whales? http://vktest.files.wordpress.... [wordpress.com]

Re:Nuclear Whale Hunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264643)

Gotta nuke somethin'.

It's pronounced Nu-kle-ar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264345)

You'd think they'd know.

Conflict between Japaneese and Chineese (4, Insightful)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47264353)

I'd be worried too if a country who had invaded mine in living history, was under-reporting plutonium.

Re:Conflict between Japaneese and Chineese (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47264389)

And, yet, China seems to be the one annexing islands and redefining boundaries.

By some standards, China is more or less invading both Japan and Vietnam now.

Who is the bigger threat? The closed communist government whose every public statement is a deluded fit of lies gets my vote. Have you ever read a press release out of China? It reads like bad fiction written by a delusional psychotic.

Maybe if China is 'worried' about Japan, they need to look at their own actions and understand why Japan might be feeling the need to be able to protect themselves.

Re:Conflict between Japaneese and Chineese (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264545)

The Chinese are legitimately worried because they are now the aggressors.

Re:Conflict between Japaneese and Chineese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264943)

And, yet, China seems to be the one annexing islands and redefining boundaries.

By some standards, China is more or less invading both Japan and Vietnam now.

Who is the bigger threat? The closed communist government whose every public statement is a deluded fit of lies gets my vote. Have you ever read a press release out of China? It reads like bad fiction written by a delusional psychotic.

Maybe if China is 'worried' about Japan, they need to look at their own actions and understand why Japan might be feeling the need to be able to protect themselves.

The experiences of armies invading Vietnam after the end of WWII can be neatly summarised with the word "disaster". China would do well to examine the experiences of the USA before trying to improve on their own pathetic bid to invade Vietnam in back in 1979. At least the Americans earned the grudging respect of the Vietnamese and respect for a wartime opponent is something the Vietnamese don't give away like supermarket discount coupons.

Re:Conflict between Japaneese and Chineese (1, Interesting)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 months ago | (#47264481)

"Living History". Japan invaders were thrown out of China some *75 years ago*. Not too many people left who have personal memories of it, any more.

Re:Conflict between Japaneese and Chineese (3, Interesting)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47264537)

While true, if you look at Japanese and Chinese history, the Chinese did the vast majority of the invading-and-pillaging. That gives additional context for the current illegal claims that China is making over Japanese, Vietnamese, Philippine, and others' territory.

They're only building nuclear powered gundams (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264361)

1000 feet tall - counting the giant cat ears.

Two-thirds of a metric *TON*?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264365)

"Japan failed to include 640 kg of unused plutonium in its annual reports"? That *is* scary. And where is it, and how secure? And why aren't the papers jumping up and down right now?

                mark

Re:Two-thirds of a metric *TON*?! (5, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47264679)

It's not really much plutonium. Sure, you can make about 40 city-sized Fat Man bombs out of it, but the scale is kind of pointless now: with a little hydrogen, you can turn a 14kg bomb up to eleven, and get yields that could blow up half of Japan instead of one small city.

So, Japan can make 40 bombs. If Japan had only 20kg of plutonium, it could still make 3 or 4 devastating small warheads with fusion-boosted-fission, enough to blow holes in Russia or devastate the United States.

If you think that's unrealistic, take a crash course in nuclear weapons. Fat Man had 14,000 grams of plutonium; it converted less that 1 gram into energy before the plutonium core blew apart. A fission-boosted-fusion bomb uses that explosion to trigger nuclear fusion in a second stage, which provides compressive force to hold the core together: the plutonium ball that burns a gram and blows apart now gets crushed together. With the right structure, you can burn 100 grams of the fuel, making the bomb 100 times bigger. A 1kg bomb would still be 7 times bigger than the 14kg Fat Man bomb.

Some serious upgrades have been made to nuclear weapons. They're largely conventional explosive, with a little nuclear core; some are boosted with fusion, which sometimes has startling effects--once, they had a blast go off 100 times bigger than the models projected.

Nuclear weapons are devastating. A handful of nuclear fuel is an arsenal. When you start getting into truckloads of fissile material, you're just wasting effort.

Re:Two-thirds of a metric *TON*?! (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 months ago | (#47264809)

Well there is the possiblility that Japan sold the plutionium. (seem suicidal but stranger things have happened)

DeFacto Nuclear Powers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264377)

Japan has been a de facto nuclear power for decades. They have have the fuel, technology and delivery systems to become a substantial nuclear power in less then a year if they decide to go that route.

Nuclear weapons are the natural counter to China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264399)

Human wave attacks won't be as effective when a grid of several square miles can simply be obliterated.

The worry about China's military bluster (1)

Andover Chick (1859494) | about 2 months ago | (#47264433)

This is one reason why everyone is worried about China's military assertiveness lately. It is not just because of the threat China poses, but the greater threat of a military Japan. Historically Japan kicks China's butt in military contests. Then, in the case of WWII, Japan careens out of control. Don't be a bully China if you don't want to get bloodied.

Re:The worry about China's military bluster (2)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 2 months ago | (#47264591)

Historically, that was only true in the 20th century. The only reason Japan survived as long as it did was due to two factors: 1) remarkably lucky bad weather drowning Kublai Khan's invasion fleet, and 2) A shogunate that decided to isolate itself from the world to avoid drawing further Chinese invasions plus focus on eliminating all foreign influences. China historically has had the manpower and the naval power to take on and defeat Japan. The 20th century was when that changed. Now Japan's got an aging society, a much smaller population, and they've got to compensate with nuclear weapons.

Mid 1940s tech. (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 months ago | (#47264453)

The trouble is that making nuclear bombs is mid 1940s technology.

Not only that, but medium range ballisistic missiles are also mid 1940s tech.

The main difficulty is that currently enrighment facilities are large and easy to spot provided a country doesn't already have a vibrant reprocessing industry (necessary for efficient use of nuclear fuels).

Many of the things useful for figuring out how to make both of those (e.g. computer simulations, high speed measuring equipment) are nor vastly more advanced and cheaper, the physics is better understood and the basic research is done and dusted.

Pertty much any highly industrialised nation could easily develop nukes and an almost unstoppable delivery system if they wanted to, provided no one threatened them enough to make them stop.

Re:Mid 1940s tech. (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47264693)

i.e. nobody finds out because it's 1km underground.

Sounds like FUD from China (5, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47264477)

The idea that Japan could enrich plutonium and turn it into nuclear weapons, which China is trying to push here, is full of "mights". Their logic is essentially:

- Japan didn't report 640kg of Mixed Oxide Fuel in an offline reactor because they didn't believe they had to. MOX is useless for making nuclear weapons by itself without further processing.

- Plutonium can be extracted from MOX, and Japan is doing this, but they reported all of the plutonium they extracted from MOX to the IAEA.

- Japan has a surplus stock of plutonium that they're not really supposed to have, but this is understandable given that plutonium is probably a pain to move around, and they have plans to use it as fuel in breeder reactors in the future.

- Japan has shown no inclination to produce nuclear weapons outside of a few studies, all of which are well over a decade old and have been known about for years.

- In China's mind, all of these things, which are circumstantial at best, indicate that Japan MIGHT be considering the production of nuclear weapons.

From what it sounds like, Japan could've had nuclear weapons years ago if they really wanted to. China merely doesn't want them to have the capability because it means they'd have a much harder time bullying Japan over things like the Senkaku islands.

Re:Sounds like FUD from China (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47264533)

Of course it's FUD.

Because, don't forget, China is rattling their sabre at Vietnam, the Phillippines, and Japan ... possibly others.

China merely doesn't want them to have the capability because it means they'd have a much harder time bullying Japan over things like the Senkaku islands.

Exactly. For China to be saying this is mostly just trying to mask the crap they're pulling and make it sound like they're only defending themselves, when what they're actually doing is a land grab.

When they issue public statements, one does wonder if they believe these things, or just figure they might as well say something to make it sound good.

Japan is already a nuclear power. (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#47264531)

They have nuclear power plants... and all the industry to make nuclear bombs and missiles.

It is quite likely they have a few that they don't talk about just as Israel has a few they don't talk about. And while we're at it, South Korea probably has a couple as well.

The forces of our coalition are the superior military force. Do not doubt it.

An enemy might sucker punch us or be so pitiful that we don't feel it sporting to slaughter them to a man... but we are stronger. And we shall remain stronger for generations to come. Too many generations came before that planned for wars and conquests for the fruits of that effort to be be gone so quickly.

Seriously /.? (1)

conscarcdr (1429747) | about 2 months ago | (#47264551)

One does not accidentally under-report plutonium stocks, much less Japan, a country known for preciseness. But then of course you would happily bash China as a knee-jerk reaction, for when hell does break loose, it's China again who absorbs the most amount of damage.

Can't blame them. (2)

Veranix (666820) | about 2 months ago | (#47264563)

Given that the Ukraine situation has just given the world an example of what nuclear-capable allies do when a nuclear-capable country invades a country without that capability (which is essentially to finger-wag and frown at the invader), could anyone really blame Japan if they did opt to arm themselves?

What's the news? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 months ago | (#47264601)

It's been known for years now that Japan and Germany are "nuclear-capable" nations. They have everything they need to start a nuclear program, and could probably get there in a year if they wanted to.

Up to now, they haven't wanted to. Japan, however, is threatened by not one but two nuclear-armed nations. China is looking to expand everywhere, and is particularly ready to fight over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands (brief aside: if you look at them on a map, they're closest to Taiwan - let's give it to them and piss both China and Japan off, if they can't find a way to just share the oil). And then there's North Korea, which has practically made a cult out of hating America and Japan, and has been lobbing missiles towards Japan just to get attention. They haven't been stupid enough to actually attack them yet, but I certainly can't fault Japan for getting concerned about it.

Re:What's the news? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47264923)

it's even more fascinating to realize Japanese scientists and engineers are extremely gifted at optimizing and refining. I'm curious what improvements and innovations they can make to the ulam-teller system every other country with thermonuclear weapons use.

Isotopes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47264711)

Isn't there the problem of separating Pu-240 from Pu-239? Which is more or less impossible as far as I recall. Because either the Japanese are running their reactors on very short cycles, which should be identifiable by the amount of fuel they use. Or all their stock should be contaminated by a high amount of Pu-240. The MOX Elements in question especially.

Under the increasing pressure from China (2)

charles05663 (675485) | about 2 months ago | (#47264819)

I would expect Japan to re-militarize. With China ever increasingly flexing its military power in the region it might be good to have a strong military in Japan. And notice it is the Chinese who are worried more then anyone else.

Curious (3, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47264869)

Japan has had the technical know-how to build nuclear weapons since the 1970s, certainly.

The concern China expresses over the Japanese nuclear program is precisely the same concern a bully expresses when some local kid starts taking karate lessons.

My main concern is that this may motivate the Chinese to increase their timetable for local seizure of various contested properties, in order to establish them as Chinese by fait accompli before Japan actually nuclearises and freezes the situation into a status quo. Of course, that would only increase Japan's motivation to militarize..

A vicious cycle indeed; unfortunately, to expect China to behave toward its neighbors as anything other than Fascist Italy is apparently unrealistic.

Robotech (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47264885)

Let them open the vaults and show the world that they're not just imaginary robots seen in cartoon anymore.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>