chapter  10
17 Pages

Hiroshima and the paradoxes of Japanese nuclear perplexity

WithThomas E. Doyle

For the Japanese people, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 are singular moments of holocaust that have produced collective memories so powerful that repeated attempts by Japanese policymakers to introduce or even discuss a nuclear deterrent have been severely contested and sanctioned. Even so, Japan’s enduring rivalries with a nuclear-armed China and North Korea have produced a powerful conviction among Japanese policymakers, and the Abe government in particular, that US extended nuclear deterrence cannot be given up. Thus, two of the most pronounced paradoxes of the nuclear age are (1) the social construction of Japan whose people are simultaneously ‘allergic’ to nuclear weapons but which do not wish to have it ‘treated’ and (2) successive Japanese governments which are forced to endure the ‘nuclear allergy’ but which also will not be rid of the ‘allergens’. This chapter develops a theoretical account of the discourse of ‘nuclear allergy’ and thereafter explores more fully the paradoxes of Japanese nuclear allergies that must never be treated and allergens which must never be expelled.