Writing in Strategy in the Second Nuclear Age, Carnegie's James Schoff offers a fresh assessment of thinking in Japan about nuclear weapons and extended deterrence following North Korea’s nuclear tests, with emphasis on the circumstances under which Japan would seriously consider or actually acquire a nuclear capability.  He also explores recent nuclear deterrence debates in Japan from a historical context, and it recommends ways that U.S. policy makers can reassure their Japanese counterparts as to the durability and viability of America’s security commitments.

The chapter looks beyond just the nuclear component of extended deterrence with regard to Japan. Indeed, U.S. reassurance of its nuclear umbrella over Japan is only one (albeit important) component of America’s security commitment to Japan. U.S. forward deployments in East Asia, missile defense development with Japan, stepped-up intelligence sharing with Japan, U.S. preemptive strike policies vis-à-vis North Korean missile launch pads, and diplomatic/political visits and signaling are all components of extended deterrence, among others.

A detailed understanding of how Japan can and might approach the nuclear question in response to current and future events is critical for the proper orientation of America’s security policies in East Asia and for a well-functioning U.S.-Japan alliance.

Strategy in the Second Nuclear Age is available for purchase through the Georgetown University Press.