Sep 28, 2021
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Japan will threaten Russia and China with nuclear submarines?

In the photo: the former head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense of Japan, Taro Kono

Pictured: Former Japanese Foreign and Defense Minister Taro Kono (Photo: AP / TASS)

The Japanese government should comprehensively study the issue of the possession of nuclear submarines. Such an initiative came from one of the favorites of the pre-election race for the post of the new head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the former head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense of the country. Taro Kono

“If we talk about the issue of possession as a potential, then I think Japan’s possession of nuclear submarines is very important. However, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive study of issues such as their area of ​​application, costs of accommodation and others, “- said Kono during a Sunday debate on Fuji TV, in response to the question whether Japan should consider the deployment of nuclear submarines following the Australian-UK agreement. and the United States on the new AUKUS defense and security partnership.

Kono was also supported by another candidate for the post of the future head of the ruling party of Japan, the ex-Minister of National Affairs. Sanae Takaichihowever, his other rivals were more cautious.

In mid-September, Australia agreed with the United Kingdom and the United States on a new partnership in the field of defense and security AUKUS and announced its withdrawal from the “contract of the century” for the construction of 12 Barracuda-class attack submarines with the French company Naval Group for 56 billion euros. Australia will now build nuclear submarines using technology from its English-speaking allies, criticizing China’s military activity and influence in the region.

Will Japan join this bloc? And what will the appearance of nuclear submarines mean? Is this a threat to Russia:

– The issue of atomic weapons in general and nuclear submarines in particular is connected not only and, probably, not so much with national security, as with prestige and emphasizing their sovereignty, – the political scientist believes Stanislav Byshok

– When the Minister of Defense of a democratic and respected country in the world talks about the possibility for the state to join the club of powers with more powerful weapons, it does not sound too defiant.

“SP”: Why is this topic coming up today, against the backdrop of the emergence of AUKUS? Can Japan join this bloc, and what does this mean for us? Against whom is the military strengthening of Tokyo mainly directed: against us or Beijing?

– There is no military strengthening of Japan, there is a proposal made by the country’s defense minister at the pre-election debate to consider the feasibility of acquiring nuclear submarines. In other words, the issue is not even considered, there is only a proposal to start a nationwide discussion on this matter.

The problematic issues of relations between Tokyo and Moscow begin and end with the issue of the Kuril Islands. In addition, there are no symbolic issues between Russia and Japan that could be discussed or for which it would be worth arming against each other.

Growing China, the current Sino-Japanese tensions in the South China Sea, and the problematic North Korea are an entirely different matter. In this direction, military reinforcement seems quite understandable.

As for the possibility of Japan joining the AUKUS bloc, since Tokyo is already a long-standing ally of Washington, formal inclusion in an additional bloc headed by the same US is not a matter of principle, especially one that should be worried about. in Moscow.

“SP”: Kono was also supported by another candidate for the post of the future head of the ruling party. Do you think there is a consensus in Japan on this topic? Recently, as part of the discussion on the “return” of the Kuriles, the Japanese Internet community has been actively discussing the idea of ​​Japan’s obtaining nuclear weapons, and even calls have been made to fight with Russia for the islands. etc. How serious are these sentiments?

– Internet trolls – some Japanese, some Bulgarian, some others – recently, for some reason, like to quote RIA Novosti with headlines like “the Japanese have called” or “the Bulgarians have ridiculed”. In reality, of course, there are no chances and, most importantly, no need for “little yellow men” to appear in the Russian Kuriles and annex these territories, with or without a referendum.

In Japan, as far as can be judged, there really is a consensus that, following the results of World War II, the USSR unjustly took these islands from its defeated neighbor. This consensus suggests that Japan should raise this issue again and again in negotiations with Russia, without recognizing the post-war border change. From this, no one draws any conclusions regarding the possibility of solving this issue by military means.

It should be canceled that the problem of the echo of the Second World War in Japan is not only with Russia, but also with China and the Koreas. Unlike Western Europe, where consensus somehow prevailed on the guilt of Hitler’s Germany and the process of mutual acceptance successfully passed, which resulted, in particular, in the creation of the European Union, nothing like this happened in Asia. In Japan, for example, there is not a single monument to the non-Japanese victims of that war. It has its own atmosphere.

“SP”: In your opinion, no matter who leads Japan, it will not be possible to relieve tension? Will the Kuril question continue to preserve its degree?

– Tension tensions strife. Russian-Japanese territorial disagreements are expressed at most in diplomatic statements from Tokyo, when high-ranking Russian officials visit the Kuril Islands. Such tension is not similar to the tension in the South China Sea, where it is about military vessels and possible, albeit local, clashes between Japan and the PRC over the islands (albeit others). With the unresolved Kuril issue, Russia and Japan can calmly coexist for another thousand years, if, of course, climate change allows.

However, military experts do not share the optimism about Tohno’s statement.

– This is not pre-election populism, but a serious application from the Japanese side to revise the results of World War II, – I am convinced military political scientist, associate professor of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Alexander Perendzhiev

– Moreover, such a chance opens up for official Tokyo, when a contract for the construction of submarines is signed with official Paris.

“SP”: Owning nuclear submarines means turning Japan into a nuclear power? Will the international community look at this calmly?

– I am sure that the international community will react very harshly. If the construction of nuclear submarines begins for Japan, it will mean a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and a complete trampling on the foundations of the international nuclear security system, as well as of all global security. Then there will no longer be any arguments about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the cessation of nuclear programs by official Tehran, as well as by other countries.

“SP”: Should China and I be straining or not paying attention? Revitalization stepping up the quad, singinginfluence AUKUS is stirring up tensions in the APR. What role can Japan play here? How do we respond to this?

– Russia needs to react harshly to such statements, explaining their danger to everyone living on Earth. Moreover, the Japanese experienced the full horror of a nuclear strike. But something with their memory has become.

In this case, official Tokyo seeks to militarize both against Russia and against the PRC. At the same time, the Land of the Rising Sun sees in all this tension an opportunity to raise the role and strengthen the place of their state in world politics, to play on the contradictions between the leading world powers.

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