RIETI Report March 10, 2023

Make 2023 a Historic Year for Disarmament and Non-proliferation: A test for Japan’s ability to have its voice heard as chair of the Security Council and G7

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Welcome to RIETI Report.
This bi-weekly newsletter will keep you updated with the recent columns, event information and research results by RIETI fellows and other leading economists in Japan and around the world.

In this edition, we present topics related to the roles that Japan can play in disarmament and non-proliferation. In 2023, Japan is holding the chairmanships of the United Nations Security Council and the G7. Consulting Fellow Maiko Takeuchi says that this provides a perfect opportunity for Japan to send a strong message regarding disarmament and non-proliferation.

We hope you will enjoy it. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear from you (news-info@rieti.go.jp).
Editors of RIETI Report (Facebook: @en.RIETI / Twitter: @RIETIenglish / URL: https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/)

This month's featured article

Make 2023 a Historic Year for Disarmament and Non-proliferation: A test for Japan’s ability to have its voice heard as chair of the Security Council and G7

TAKEUCHI MaikoConsulting Fellow, RIETI

1. Nuclear Weapons as Protection for Future Generations?

Amid the escalating wave of missile test firings by North Korea, the world is witnessing truly spine-chilling events. When Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s supreme leader, visited a missile test site and when he attended a photo opportunity to celebrate a successful test with those credited with contributing to the success, he was accompanied by a young girl. According to some media reports, the girl is his daughter. The sight of a girl with an innocent smile, who could in the future serve in an important position in North Korea, attending events associated with the development of weapons of mass destruction, has come as a fresh reminder that militaristic values will be inherited by future generations of leaders in that country.

According to an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry, North Korea has already succeeded in developing nuclear weapons that are sufficiently small to be used as missile warheads and possesses the capability to attack Japan with nuclear missiles. Armed with that capability, North Korea test-fired missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, at an unprecedented frequency in 2022. The missile tests are not merely intended as a show of power or an act of provocation but are also for the purpose of developing the technology. North Korea is presumed to have further advanced its ballistic missile technology through this multitude of tests, which is a very serious problem for Japan’s foreign policy and national security. In Japan, there may be the sense that despite this situation, missiles actually raining down on the country is an unlikely prospect. However, there is always the risk of an accidental attack or a launch failure that results in a missile landing in Japanese territory. Even without actually using nuclear weapons, North Korea can threaten the use of nuclear weapons as a dreadful diplomatic weapon.

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Related article

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TAKEUCHI Maiko (Consulting Fellow, RIETI)

Related event

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Speaker: Daniel AHN (Global Fellow, Wilson Center)
Commentator: TAKEUCHI Maiko (Consulting Fellow, RIETI)

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