U.S. Believed Japan Could Produce Atomic Weapons in 1970s: Records

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 30, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

The United States in 1977 as­sessed that plutoni­um Ja­pan pro­duced for its nuc­le­ar-en­ergy pro­gram could be used to pro­duce weapons and ex­pressed that be­lief to the Ja­pan­ese gov­ern­ment, Ky­odo News re­por­ted on Wed­nes­day, cit­ing re­cently de­clas­si­fied dip­lo­mat­ic doc­u­ments.

A U.S. non­pro­lif­er­a­tion of­fi­cial in­formed a Ja­pan­ese en­voy based in Aus­tria the then-pre­val­ent the­ory that re­act­or-grade plutoni­um could not be used to fuel nuc­le­ar war­heads was in­cor­rect, ac­cord­ing to a Feb­ru­ary 1977 dip­lo­mat­ic missive sent from the Ja­pan­ese em­bassy in the United States to the Ja­pan­ese For­eign Min­istry.

Ja­pan­ese atom­ic spe­cial­ists at the time did not view plutoni­um with­drawn from used re­act­or fuel to be suited for use in mak­ing war­heads.

The United States back then was against a Ja­pan­ese gov­ern­ment plan to be­gin op­er­at­ing the na­tion’s first spent fuel re­pro­cessing fa­cil­ity. Today, Ja­pan’s mul­tiple re­pro­cessing plants have re­covered enough plutoni­um to fuel hun­dreds of weapons. The coun­try has so much of the ma­ter­i­al it can­not store it all on its own ter­rit­ory. There are cur­rently some nine tons of plutoni­um in Ja­pan while the United King­dom and France are hold­ing an ad­di­tion­al 35 tons of the Ja­pan­ese-pro­duced pro­lif­er­a­tion-sens­it­ive sub­stance.

Ja­pan has long-been con­sidered to be a nuc­le­ar-break­out state, mean­ing it has the tech­nic­al know-how and re­sources to de­vel­op a war­head should the gov­ern­ment make the polit­ic­al de­cision to do. However the is­land na­tion has forsworn nuc­le­ar arms pro­duc­tion since com­ing un­der at­tack by U.S. atom­ic bombs in World War II. The grow­ing threat posed by North Korea’s nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gram as well as China’s in­creas­ingly will­ing­ness to as­sert its ter­rit­ori­al claims in the re­gion has spurred some lim­ited talk in­side Ja­pan about wheth­er the coun­try should de­vel­op a nuc­le­ar mil­it­ary cap­ab­il­ity.

What We're Following See More »
INTERCEPT IN MIDDLE EAST
Navy Calls Iranian Ships’ Actions Dangerous, Unprofessional
28 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Four Iranian ships made reckless maneuvers close to a U.S. warship this week, the Pentagon said Thursday, in an incident that officials said could have led to dangerous escalation." The four Iranian vessels engaged in a "high-speed intercept" of a U.S. destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz. A Navy spokesman said the Iranina actions "created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures" by the destroyer.

Source:
$300 SAVINGS CARD
Under Pressure, EpiPen Maker Drops Prices
36 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Amid public outcry and the threat of investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mylan has agreed to effectively drop the price of EpiPens. "The company, which did not lower the drug's list price, said it would reduce the patient cost of EpiPen through the use of a savings card, which will cover up to $300 of EpiPen 2-Pak."

Source:
AN ENGLISHMAN IN MISSISSIPPI
Nigel Farage: Trump Can Beat Polls
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Nigel Farage, who led the Brexit effort in the United Kingdom, appeared at a Trump rally in Mississippi yesterday. Farage told the 15,000-strong crowd: "Remember, anything is possible if enough decent people are prepared to stand up against the establishment."

Source:
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
×