Japan Flag for Japan

Country Spotlight

The 1945 atomic bombings of Japan by the United States left an indelible impression on Japanese society. Japan does not possess any programs for the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but it is the only non-nuclear weapon state in possession of a full nuclear fuel cycle and has advanced WMD-relevant industries.

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Region   East Asia and the Pacific

~700,000 Chemical weapons abandoned in China after World War II

3 Non-nuclear principles: Japan shall not possess, produce, or base nuclear weapons

4% Electricity from nuclear power

4th Largest commercial chemical industry in the world


  • “Atomic Energy Basic Law” prohibits all non-peaceful nuclear activities
  • Only NPT non-nuclear weapon state in possession of full-scale nuclear fuel cycle facilities
  • Hibakusha, survivors of the 1945 nuclear attacks, have spearheaded strong nuclear disarmament movement

Japan Nuclear Overview


  • Extensive use of biological weapons during WWII, including widespread attacks on civilians and crops
  • Signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in 1972 and ratified it in 1982
  • Member of the Australia Group and maintains comprehensive export controls


  • Does not have a ballistic missile program, but is pursuing the acquisition of offensive strike capabilities using cruise missiles to address perceived regional threats
  • Purchasing 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US
  • Member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and was involved in drafting the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC)
  • Deploys a multi-layer missile defense system consisting of both sea-based midcourse defense and ground-based terminal defense systems

Japan Missile Overview


  • Used chemical weapons against Chinese troops and civilians during WWII
  • Working with China under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to destroy more than 700,000 Japanese chemical weapons abandoned in Chinese territory
  • Ratified the CWC in September 1995

Treaties and Regimes Memberships

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The NPT is a treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons through the three pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

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Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

The BTWC mandates the elimination of existing biological weapons and prohibits developing, stockpiling, or using biological and toxin weapons.

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Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear explosion tests on Earth. It needs eight key countries to ratify before entry into force.

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Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires countries to destroy all chemical weapons and prohibits developing, stockpiling, or using chemical weapons.

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Reflections on My First Visit to Hiroshima

Atomic Pulse

Reflections on My First Visit to Hiroshima

"Visiting Hiroshima imparted to me a deep sense of responsibility as well as a renewed energy to work towards a world without nuclear weapons," writes Program Officer Ananya Agustin Malhotra.

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