At one time or another, people have turned to any available option on the Earth for new means of ruining one another. They have razed forests, ravaged the elements, diverted religion and philosophy, science and art to arouse human’s desire for bloodshed. Therefore, the development and spread of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons have become a special concern for global security, especially, after the end of World War II, the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union.
The global balance of the world has shifted, with a great number of countries striving for nuclear technologies outside the international agreements. Certainly, those technologies can be an indispensible source of energy, which contributes to a rapid economic and political development. However, it can become a powerful instrument of world or regional intimidation and influence. Proliferation of these technologies to unpredictable, undemocratic and precarious states increases solicitudes that the equipment, materials and expertise can very quickly be found in the hands of terrorist and criminal organizations. To cause massive casualties or terror, these organizations are not obliged to resort to some sophisticated nuclear technologies. Common biological or chemical materials and crude radiological equipment may be used to make explosive devices. Thereby, it poses a great challenge on how manipulation of such weapons can be controlled and how to awaken awareness of public about what can be a wrong use of this equipment.
An urgent cause for concern to most countries, namely Japan, is their security and defense. In its 1947 constitution, Japan has refused forever to use force or the threat of force to resolve international conflicts. This implies that Japan is obliged to abstain from keeping CBRN weapons. As far as biological and chemical weapon is concerned, Japan does not possess it at present. Nevertheless, the country could easily produce it, as the rich financial and other resources are available to the country’s powerful military-industrial complex. From history, Japan has conducted a considerable experimentation with germ warfare by the end of World War II. The program was started in the 1930s when Japan has occupied Manchuria, and then during the invasion of China. The secret chemical and biological warfare unit was called ‘Unit 731’and was established in northeastern China in course of Japanese occupation. This program researched, produced, developed and tested biological weapons. The Allied forces had suspected Japan of using germ warfare against China. However, they were unable to prove it during the war.
According to Jane’s CBRN Assessments (2012) “the Japanese government has strived to incorporate measures supporting the BWC (Biological Weapons Convention) into Japanese laws and regulations that apply to the country's biotechnology sector:” Consequently, the country has adopted a number of provisions as a part of comprehensive regulatory and legislative structure supporting the convention. Besides, in June 1982 Japan has accepted the “BWC Implementation Law”, which concerns the implementation of the convention on the ban of development and stocking of the biological and toxin weapons and on their demolition. This law prohibits possession, production, acquisition and transfer of these weapons. Moreover, it regulates the development, stocking, production and acquisition of the biological and toxin weapons with peaceful aims. Currently, there is no evidence that Japan was engaged in any of these prohibited activities. What is more, Japan is one of the few states that have submitted complete BWC confidence-building measure.
Actually, Japan has never aided other countries in developing their CBRN capabilities. For instance, Japanese government regulates biological and chemical exports with the help of the Catch-All Export Control System of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). This system eliminates items, which are connected to the development of CBRN weapons, including timber and food products. Besides, Japan is a member of the Australia Group that is responsible for export control on sensitive biological and chemical agents and dual-use civilian technologies misused to produce biological weapons. Consequently, the Australian Group is an informal international organization who attempts to guarantee that exports do not cause the transfer and development of chemical and biological weapons. The Japanese officials have adopted a comprehensive system of exports control on all types of biological materials taking into account the obligations as a member of the Australian Group.
Speaking about nuclear and radiological technologies, Japan conducted a program of the development of these weapons during World War II. However, it suffered from a number of problems, and was almost unable to progress in the view of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Japanese capitulation in August 1945. Nowadays, Japan pursues a course of de-militarization and nuclear disarmament. Nevertheless, considering the testing of nuclear weapons by North Korea, some Japanese authorities are demanding the cancellation of this policy. In December 1967 Sato declared the adoption of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, which implied that Japan would not produce, possess or permit storing of the nuclear weapons. Though, Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn and Mitchell Reiss (2004) have noticed that soon after making this declaration Sato has realized that it might be too limiting. Therefore, he elucidated these principles in February 1968 by announcing “Four-Pillars Nuclear Policy". Jonathan Shell (2007) has noted that if American support and assurance ever seemed unreliable or were removed, Japan could have no choice but to go nuclear. Thereby, the nuclear option was kept available. At present, Japan is known to abstain from manufacturing nuclear weapons. However, it possesses the necessary technology, capital and the raw materials to produce these weapons rather rapidly. In other words, the country has no real reason to produce nuclear weapons, having the potential to cross it at a short period of time and being supported by the US.
In fact, the US-Japan defense relationship is the basis of Japan’s security and the fundamental element of peace and defense in the Asia-Pacific region. These advances in defense cooperation and bilateral security have been welcomed by the Security Consultative Committee. On October 29, 2005, that committee adopted the document, "U.S.-Japan Alliance: Transformation and Realignment for the Future", which defined the main initiatives on missions, roles, and capabilities of the Japanese and US forces. The Security Consultative Committee affirmed that, as the US and Japan possess and develop their potential, every effort should be made to guarantee operational, strategic, and tactical coordination. Considering that fact, both countries, in close cooperation, will take necessary measures in response to ballistic missile danger to the alliance interests.
Returning to the question of global balance, it is necessary to outline the possible use of CBRN weapons by non-state actors. To illustrate the actual danger, it would be necessary to examine the case of the Aum group in Japan. On 20 March, 1995, participants of Japanese religious cult, the Aum Shinrikyo, freed the dangerous chemical agent Sarin in the Tokyo subway. They had managed to produce this agent themselves. Their act caused the death of twelve people and injured 1,039 people. According to Alan Dolnik (2008) “it remains the largest nonconventional terrorist attack in history”. Besides, they had used Sarin, which was not detected in June 1994 in another Japanese city, causing seven deaths and numerous injuries. These events and the possibility of using CBRN equipments and materials by such organizations in general make us speak about the development of so called “super-terrorism”. However, present terrorist organizations demonstrate rather limited capabilities in the use of CBRN agents for the aim of launching attacks, which could cause mass casualties or great physical damage. Still, the threat of operation involving those dangerous agents exists.
The problem posed by CBRN weapons is very complex and requires international efforts in resolving it. It encircles numerous attempts to ensure biological and nuclear disarmament. For instance, the prohibition of the use of biological weapons in the Geneva Protocol remains one of the international norms. However, any effort to find solutions to CBRN weapons problem based only on the international agreements and treaties is not sufficient. This is not a problem which can be settled by a treaty on its own. Therefore, the issue is not CBRN weapons and states: the issue is the CBRN problem itself, which comprises individuals, states, and non-state actors. Efforts to control this situation should be addressed to each of these distinct areas of concern with the help of various measures: the realization of the danger CBRN weapons pose; the short-term strategy to surmount the political difficulties; the willingness to actually adopt – by supposed means if needed – existing norms and laws; the on-going and constant management of this problem; the readiness to go well beyond the traditional disarmament, arms control and exports control.
Generally, the nature of global warfare in the twenty-first century is constantly changing. Usual set piece battles between regular armies are becoming increasingly uncommon. The situation in the world has become rather peaceful and traditional international conflicts are mostly settled amicably. This tendency makes it unlikely that large-scale use of CBRN weapons with malicious intents will happen again in the future. However, taking into account the past events of terror, we should be ready and accordingly educated to resolve such problems. To my mind, the bloody lessons learnt from the past should teach the future generations to avoid the reoccurrence of the possibility of CBRN technologies being put to evil ends. Besides, with the permanent development of these technologies, the means of protecting them from the hands of terrorists must be examined and developed too. In my opinion, this will be a primary task of state actors. Moreover, this issue will remain under international control and will be rigorously and thoroughly regulated by international organizations. In the nearest twenty years the question of the proper use of CBRN weapons will be deeply investigated and the main methods of managing them will be devised. The right use of CBRN agents will contribute a lot to the world process improvement.
Actually, this problem is rather delicate and depends only on human’s choice. Thus, I totally agree with the statement of Tim Sweijs “that in the 21st century, CBRN materials may be utilized and deployed as weapons in novel ways, both at the battlefield and in the civil domain, in times of war as well as in times of peace.”
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