“Nuclear ‘Breakout’: Risks and Possible Responses,” by Andrew Mack, Department of International Relations, http://rspas.anu.edu.au/ir/working%20papers/97-1.pdf, June 1997.
“Just-in-time nukes,” The Acorn, http://www.paifamily.com/opinion/archives/000769.html, 24 May 2004.
“Re: Tokyo Needs Nukes,” by Jonah Goldberg, The Corner, http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_02_13_corner-archive.asp#056263, 15 February 2005.
One of Japan Unbound‘s claims is that the U.S. has been pressuring Japan to build an atomic bomb. A post at the Corner implies this isn’t as far-fetched as it seems
From a well-placed military research guy:
Jonah: Japan is classified as a “Virtual Nuclear State”. They have developed a complete nuclear fuel cycle (including plutonium breeding and extraction) but have only refrained from developing nuclear weapons because of the cultural stigma involved. North Korea’s antics over the last decade have been eroding this cultural taboo at an ever-increasing rate. Serious analysts of Japan’s nuclear industry argue (including a very senior member of the National Security Council) that Japan could go nuclear within six weeks of deciding to do so.
Also, Japan has several delivery systems, including a orbital rocket that could be developed into an ICBM rather quickly.
Fear is a dangerous thing. Especially when you are a couple of hundred miles from a madman.
More on the concept of virtual nuclear weapons states (emphasis original)
States that have both the technical expertise to make nuclear weapons and large stockpiles of plutonium are sometimes called ‘virtual’ nuclear weapons states. They are able to ‘go nuclear’ far more quickly than states which would have to produce fissil material from scratch.
Acorn blog earlier chimed
Taiwan could be the first ‘virtual’ nuclear state to cross the Rubicon. The balance of conventional forces is still in Taiwan’s favour, but the Mainland is fast beefing up its strike capability, investing in both enhanced air and naval power.
Virtual nuclear states are in a powerful position. They can use their virtual status both ways, gaining diplomatic benefits from being “peaceful” while using the possibility of going nuclear as a threat.