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"Veto Players, Nuclear Energy, and Nonproliferation: Domestic Institutional Barriers to a Japanese Bomb"

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responds to questions delivered by opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa during a Parliamentary debate. Abe insisted his government would not stray from its non-nuclear policy.
AP Photo

"Veto Players, Nuclear Energy, and Nonproliferation: Domestic Institutional Barriers to a Japanese Bomb"

Journal Article, International Security, volume 36, issue 2, pages 154-189

Fall 2011

Author: Jacques E.C. Hymans

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Quarterly Journal: International Security

 

SUMMARY

The basic insight of the “veto players” literature from comparative politics—the more veto players, the more policy rigidity—has been nearly absent from the study of nuclear proliferation. Yet, when states need mutual agreement among a large number of veto players, this greatly lengthens the odds against radical nuclear policy change. The veto players perspective helps to explain the historical resilience of Japan’s fifty-year pursuit of a complete nuclear fuel cycle for exclusively peaceful purposes. Although a long line of Japan observers have focused on statements by Japanese politicians suggesting the possibility of redirecting some of the country’s large nuclear estate toward military ends, Japan’s traditional nuclear policy has in fact become increasingly entrenched over the years, given the rising number of institutionalized veto players in its nuclear policymaking arena. This point is relevant not only to the long-standing question of whether Japan will acquire nuclear weapons, but also to the post-Fukushima disaster question of whether Japan will exit the nuclear field entirely.

 

For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914.

For Academic Citation:

Jacques E.C. Hymans. "Veto Players, Nuclear Energy, and Nonproliferation: Domestic Institutional Barriers to a Japanese Bomb." International Security 36, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 154-189.

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