Ishihara Says Japan Needs to Consider Nuclear Programs

Representative Ishihara Shintaro of the Japan Restoration Party

Ishihara Shintaro (80) is making the news yet again for his controversial remarks. This time, however, he speaks in his new role as a member of Osaka mayor Hashimoto Toru’s newly-formed Japan Restoration Party running for office in the upcoming elections for the House of Representatives.

Ishihara’s recent statements are contentious for many Japanese; from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WW2 to the continuing anxiety over the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, any mention of nuclear issues carries the threat of a significant backlash. Still, there are also those who are in agreement with Ishihara that Japanese security policy needs to be strengthened, and that a debate over nuclear programs should be a part of this.

The article below attracted considerable netizen attention, with thousands of comments being posted when the article appeared on Yahoo!News on November 20. A selection of the most up-voted comments are also included.

From Yahoo!News:

Representative Ishihara [House of Representatives December Election]: Plan Nuclear Programs ‘To Become a Deterrent Force’

On November 20, Representative Ishihara Shintaro of the Japan Restoration Party gave a speech at the Tokyo branch of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, where he stated in regards to Japan’s response to China’s opposition over the Senkaku Islands, that: ‘It would be better if Japan could at least investigate computer modelling of defensive nuclear weapons. It would be a deterrent force’. He made the remark while responding to the queries of foreign journalists.

That there should be a review of nuclear programs is Ishihara’s own personal opinion, but in conjunction with the statements of the acting leader of the Japan Restoration Party, Hashimoto Toru (Mayor of Osaka) who previously mentioned the necessity of revising the three non-nuclear principles, in effect the party seems to be calling for debate in the election of the House of Representatives, for which the election campaign has already begun.

Ishihara Shintaro and acting leader of the Japan Restoration Party Hashimoto Toru

Ishihara Shintaro and acting leader of the Japan Restoration Party Hashimoto Toru.

Ishihara indicated that, ‘Insofar as we don’t have a strong military deterrent, our diplomacy also lacks influence. In the world as it is today, the influence of countries who have no nuclear programs, and their diplomatic power, is overwhelmingly weak. North Korea has a political presence because it is developing nuclear weapons’.

Ishihara also said that nuclear weapons would be a strong diversion to China, which repeatedly intrudes into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, ignoring the opposition of the Japanese government: ‘It is certainly not desirable that we are violated by China’s hegemony and that Japan becomes a second Tibet. When we say ‘no’, we mean ‘no’.’

From Yahoo!News:


He has a point (-.-)


I support these statements.


When you think of the threat of China, I don’t think there’s any way we can bring them down.


I want him to make more and more forceful statements with regard to China.


If Japan is threatened with nuclear weapons by a country that has nuclear weapons, then Japan must also get nuclear weapons. But until then, there is no need for any of this.


Clearly the danger level and the situation is different from how it was 40 years ago. To at least review nuclear programs is an obvious choice. I support the Restoration Party.


I agree with Ishihara. We can’t always just depend on America.


This argument is correct because there is a threat from China and North Korea. And it’ll be too late to do it once we’ve been invaded.


He has a point, but it makes my blood run cold to think that someone like Hashimoto Toru might be holding the button.


Get rid of article 9 while you’re at it.


Do it quickly, Ishihara.


It’s dangerous, but there is nothing for it when you look at how things are at the moment.


When China repeatedly intrudes into Japanese territorial waters, it becomes necessary for us to be security conscious. Furthermore, if the countries that invade us have nuclear weapons, then all the more reason to review nuclear programs.


Since China and North Korea possess nuclear weapons, then I think there is no reason for Japan to be criticized for having them.


The Japanese people feel unsafe at these domineering remarks. We will definitely preserve the three non-nuclear principles, and in terms of our diplomatic relations with countries that have nuclear weapons it would be a great disadvantage to Japan if we did have them. If children born and brought up in Japan end up being frightened of Korea, which is a friendly country, then this would alarm Japanese citizens. It is necessary to take our pacifism and make it stronger, to continue to talk about abandoning American military presence in Japan and the self-defense forces, to protect the human rights of many people by passing legislation to safeguard human rights — citizens of Japan want pacifism to continue. We hope that the old amnesiac Ishihara will continue to drive home his statements about nuclear programs, following on from his statements about buying fishing islands.


If you’re thinking of making nuclear weapons, get on with the preparations to have them made in three days!


In complete agreement with nuclear weapons.

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