Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Perry delivers speech in Tokyo, indicates possibility of security without nuclear weapons

by Junichiro Hayashi, Staff Writer

On October 21, former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, who maintains influence in the policy-making of U.S. nuclear strategy, suggested the possibility of security without nuclear weapons at a forum held in Tokyo. Even if Japan is attacked, he said, Japan and the United States could respond with conventional weapons.

With regard to extended deterrence, including the U.S. "nuclear umbrella," Mr. Perry noted that nuclear weapons are only one aspect of defense and problems can be dealt with using conventional weapons. He then addressed the necessary conditions for nuclear abolition, saying it was essential to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world--still standing at over 20,000--by more than 95 percent. He added that the United States and Russia should cut their nuclear weapons substantially and, in the meantime, any nuclear buildup of other nuclear weapon states should be halted.

Mr. Perry called on the new Japanese government to address security and nuclear issues regardless of party affiliation.

Mr. Perry is one of the four former senior U.S. government officials who proposed "a world free of nuclear weapons" in The Wall Street Journal in 2007 and 2008. After his lecture, Mr. Perry held talks with former Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi as well. The forum was jointly sponsored by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and was attended by about 180 people.

(Originally published on October 22, 2009)