Harold C. Hutchison considers Japans military potential, including going nuclear: "Japan could have a working nuclear weapons capability in one year should they decide to." All this is interesting, given the rise of China. Also see Hutchinon post on the Japanese navy,
"arguably the second-best navy in the Pacific, trailing only the United States Navy." Again, I bring to your attention again Robert D. Kaplan lengthy article on china in the current The Atlantic (not avaliable on line). Also see this
One would think that a nuclear Japan is the one thing that China fears more than US hegemony in East Asia. Therefore, I am puzzled by Chinas unwillingness to really press the North Koreans on the nuclear weapons issue. What would happen if Condi whispered in her Chinese counterparts ear that the US would be forced to encourage a nuclear Japan as a self-protection measure if the North Koreans proceed with their nuclear weapons program?