23:46 GMT15 May 2021
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    United States Vice President Joe Biden drew attention in Japan with his recent remark about the Japanese constitution. During his debate with presidential nominee Donald Trump, Biden said that the US "wrote Japan’s constitution to say they could not be a nuclear power."

    The remark was reported in several Japanese media outlets with experts insisted that the vice president was wrong.

    "As for me, I can’t say that Biden’s remark was an embarrassment. The point is that Tokyo is not happy with his comment because such remarks emphasize Japan’s role as a protectorate of Washington," Anatoly Koshkin, a Russian historian and specialist in Japanese affairs, told Sputnik.

    "The main principles of Japan’s constitution were written by the US administration. It’s no secret. It’s strange that Biden words sparked an outrage in Japan," he added.

    The expert also noted that the text of the constitution cannot be interpreted in the way to say that Tokyo has the right to be a nuclear power. Article 9 of the Constitution reads that Japan has no right to have not only nuclear weapons but any armed forces at all.

    "The Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes," Koshkin cited the document.

    Any talk that Japan can be a nuclear power is an attempt to twist the meaning of the country’s basic law, he added.

    In addition to Article 9 of the Constitution, there are the so-called Three Non-Nuclear Principles of Japan. They say that the country shall neither possess nor produce nuclear weapons, nor shall it permit the introduction of nuclear weapons to the Japanese soil.

    But de-facto those principles were violated long ago, experts believe.

    "The irony is that Washington which imposed a non-nuclear status on Japan has done a lot to neglect those principles. As for the third principles, the US military moved nuclear weapons to Japan from the very beginning. Everyone knows that nukes are already in Okinawa," Koshkin added.

    Valeriy Kistanov, senior analyst at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, also confirmed that Tokyo is building up its nuclear capacities.

    "Japan is taking some steps to boost its nuclear capabilities, including accumulating stockpiles of plutonium. Last year, China reported to the UN that Japan had 10.8 tons of plutonium, enough to manufacture 1,350 nuclear warheads. Even, the US is concerned," Kistanov told Sputnik.

    At the same time, Tokyo cannot make a decision on whether to have or not to have nuclear weapons, analysts agreed.

    "Currently, nuclear weapons are just a dystopia for Japan. No one would let this happen. China and South Korea are against it. Russia would also oppose. But the main opponent is of course the US. Being a nuclear power would mean that Tokyo could act independently from Washington. The US will not let that happen," Kistanov concluded.


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