I've been arguing for some time that Asia's other economic powerhouse, Japan, is a turn-key nuclear power, and in my estimation, probably a turn-key thermo-nuclear power. Today's article find by W.G. is a carefully argued case making the same point, which we'll get to in a moment.
But what do I mean by a "turn-key" nuclear and thermo-nuclear power? Essentially, a turn-key nuclear power is (1) a nation that has closed the nuclear fuel cycle, (2) has the means to enrich uranium, or to create plutonium, to weapons grade, and to metallicize the results (in the case of uranium), (3) to store the results in the form of ready-to-hand cores for a fission bomb, (4) to engineer the other parts of the weapon and to store those for ready assembly, and (5) possesses the infrastructure and means of delivery of such weapons. In the case of a therm0-nuclear turn-key power, additionally this means the ability to use any fission weapons it might produce as the necessary "fuses" for fusion (hydrogen) bombs, which implies expertise in thermo-nuclear plasma. Such a nation would, in effect, manufacture all the components for a nuclear and thermo-nuclear arsenal, and be able to assemble bombs very quickly, and wed them - again very quickly - to delivery systems. This implies one final idea: the turn-key nuclear and thermo-nuclear nation would have to be competent enough in nuclear engineering not to have to test its assembled weapons.
In the following article shared by W.G. (thank you!) the argument is made that Japan is precisely such a power - and China knows it (and if China knows it, everyone else does too):
What concerns us here are the following statements:
Thus, according to the Chinese Internet portal Sohu, Tokyo has a stock of already processed nuclear raw materials for 6,000 nuclear devices (!). For several years, Japan hid this from both its allies in the United States and from other countries. It should be noted that this number is the level of Russia and the United States, which have, according to the estimates of competent experts, 7000 and 6800 of them, respectively, while France has 300, China – 270, North Korea, according to various estimates, from 10 to 60. Meanwhile, Iran only has one nuclear device!
At the same time, the Sohu portal also indicates that for several years Tokyo, within the framework of its nuclear energy, has enriched and processed raw materials to a level that allows them to create weapons. With no criticism from today’s Iranian opponents. Although the Chinese exposing material does not name specific volumes, these could be several dozens of tons, at least.
As for the means of delivery of nuclear weapons, one must not forget that Japan is a leading space power, its spacecraft landed on an asteroid and delivered matter from there to Earth, and its launch vehicles are exceptionally reliable.
Hence, a natural question arises: who is really orchestrating the campaign to punish Iran for its nuclear program, while an active US ally under the former’s cover has already accumulated a world-destroying potential of raw materials for several thousand atomic bombs? Isn’t the anti-Iranian information campaign of the United States and Israel a cover for Japan to secretly create its own nuclear potential without appropriate control by the world community?
My only quibble with this article is its focus on atom(fission) bombs. The Japanese certainly would not waste time stopping with just atom bombs on their "exceptionally reliable" launch vehicles. It is fully capable of going directly to "the big one" (fusion bombs), and its stockpile of enough nuclear fissile material is really a stockpile to create a thermo-nuclear arsenal of a size to rival that of the USA and Russia, of at least a thousand warheads, if not a few thousands of warheads, far beyond the operational numbers of France or China.
I have another quibble as well: given today's geopolitical tensions, and with China making threatening noises over Taiwan (and Japan making equally important pledges to protect Taiwan), one wonders: if Japan makes such pledges, how does it intend to do so?
My bet: the Japanese won't wait for a crisis to occur and try to assemble its nuclear arsenal in the midst of it.
Chances are, it's already assembled a few firecrackers, and quietly transmitted that fact to the interested parties in the region.
Oh, and by the way... Taiwan is no nuclear slouch either...(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction)
See you on the flip side...