Possible ‘no first use’ policy scares U.S. allies


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and  leaders of some other major U.S. allies are worried about  the possible policy of “no first use”  of nuclear weapons being considered by the Obama administration. The fear is that such a policy would weaken  the ability to deter aggressive dictatorships such as North Korea.

South Korea, France and Britain are also said to have privately communicated their concerns to U.S. officials about a potential declaration by President Obama of such a policy.

If Mr. Obama were to declare a no-first-use policy, it would represent a  major change in the U.S. nuclear posture.

To read a Japan Times story on this topic, please hit this link.


A regency for Japan?


Japanese Emperor Akihito, in a rare televised address to the nation, talked about his ill health and cast doubts on his ability to carry out his duties as emperor  much longer. He said that he wanted an orderly imperial family succession. Observers speculated that perhaps a regent might be appointed.

But Japanese law says the emperor must serve until death and is barred from appealing directly to be allowed to retire or abdicate. Thus legal changes may be needed for Emperor Akihito to step aside.

To read The Guardian’s story on this, please hit this link.

Preparations begin for Japanese emperor’s abdication



Emperor Akihito.

The Japanese government has begun work to revise the law governing the imperial family system  to permit an emperor to abdicate. Emperor Akihito wants to abdicate, government sources have said. He has been treated for prostate cancer and heart problems.

The 82-year-old monarch is expected to soon speak about his desire to  hand over the throne to his 56-year-old son, Crown Prince Naruhito.

The Japan Times noted: “Revision to the Imperial House Law is necessary for an emperor to relinquish the throne while still alive, as the law does not provide for abdication. No succession from a living emperor has taken place for about 200 years.”

Read The Japan Time’s article on this by hitting this link.

Japan-China tensions mount in East China Sea


China has strongly criticized Japan over a scramble of military aircraft from the two countries  amid a dispute over islands in the East China Sea.

Japan is in an old dispute with China over ownership of a group of islands  northeast of Taiwan, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus  in China.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said that two Japanese fighter jets took “provocative actions” at a high speed near a pair of Chinese fighter jets patrolling  the sea  on June 17.

The Japanese planes used radar to “light up” the Chinese aircraft, the Chinese statement added. Japan has acknowledged that there was a scramble but has denied that  there was any radar lock.

“The Japanese plane’s provocative actions caused an accident in the air, endangering the safety of personnel on both sides, and destroying the peace and stability in the region,” China’s Defense Ministry said.

Japan has accused China of escalating military activity in the East China Sea, saying that Japanese emergency scrambles to counter Chinese jets have almost doubled over the past three months.

Reuters reports that Japan “is worried that China is escalating its activity in the East China Sea in response to Tokyo’s pledge to support countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines and Vietnam, that oppose China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.”

To read the Reuters article on this, please hit this link