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COULD SOUTH KOREA AND JAPAN GO NUCLEAR?

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North Korean Test Reverberates Around Region
By Harold Hutchison

In the wake of North Korea’s 12 February nuclear test, more voices in South Korea and Japan are suggesting that both nations acquire nuclear weapons of their own.

Shintaro Ishihara, a former governor of Tokyo and a member of the Diet, is among those voices calling for Japan to re-consider its refusal to develop nuclear weapons of its own. Ishihara believes that the weapons are needed to counter those from China and North Korea.

“I'd really like to think that that's really what's happening is that their trying to make a political statement to try to get China interested in dealing with the problem,” Carl Baker, director of programs at the Pacific Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. Baker added that there could be consequences if Japan and South Korea followed the path suggested by Ishihara and others.

"There is the Non-Proliferation Treaty which requires people who don't possess nuclear weapons to not possess nuclear weapons. For South Korea and Japan to basically disregard the treaty would be a very bad step,” he told VOA News.