Project Background

Over several decades, Australia and Japan have developed a close security relationship, formalized in the 2007 Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation. With the Australia initiative to establish the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, co-chaired by Australia and Japan, the relationship will deepen still further at a government-government level. This project seeks to supplement that government-government development with parallel work at the civil society level, which at least in the area of strategic relations, has been less developed than in other sectors.

Australia-Japan Foundation grant for 2008-9

The Australia Japan Foundation has awarded the Nautilus Institute at RMIT $40,000 to support Nautilus Institute’s response to the increased danger of nuclear war and proliferation through Australia-Japan cooperation for nuclear disarmament. The government-government relationship between Australia and Japan will be deepened by the Australian initiative to establish the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, co-chaired by Australia and Japan. This project seeks to supplement that with parallel work at the civil society level, which at least in the area of strategic relations, has been less developed than in other sectors. The project, in collaboration with researchers and civil society groups in Australia and Japan, will centre on a three-day sequence of an expert research workshop with Australian and Japanese specialists, a scenarios building workshop with these experts and others to explore uncertainty in pathways to non-proliferation goals, and a high profile public forum.

Key issues

  • The nature of the Post-Cold War strategic nuclear environment.
  • Northeast Asian and Southeast Asia regional security dynamics and implications for proliferation and disarmament pathways.
  • Status of nuclear weapons in contemporary strategic thought and planning as it affects the two countries.
  • Implications of extended nuclear deterrence for movement towards disarmament.
  • Protections against proliferation pressures arising from nuclear energy development.
  • Nuclear weapons free zones – evaluation, refurbishment and next steps.
  • The role of the UNSC 1540 Committee, including expert contribution and civil society engagement.
  • Evaluation of the prospects of the NPT regime: reformable or time for new approaches?
  • Prospects of new legal and political instruments to abolish or stigmatize nuclear weapons.
  • Role of civil society organisations in monitoring of proliferation propensities.

International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament is a joint initiative of the Australian and Japanese Governments. It aims to reinvigorate international efforts on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, in the context of both the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and beyond.

Civil Society and Nuclear Disarmament


Global civil society, Nautilus Institute:



Australia-Japan security relations

Australia – Japan Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, 13 March 2007.

Australia’s Security Relationship with Japan: How much further can it go? Paul Dibb, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre,  Working Paper No. 407, April 2008.

The Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and Asia-Pacific Strategic Geometries, William T Tow, Austral Policy Forum 07-16A, 6 September 2007.

Australia-Japan relations: New directions, Aurelia George Mulgan, ASPI, Strategic Insight 36, 12 July 2007.

Richard Tanter, The new security architecture: Binding Japan and Australia, containing China,  Austral Policy Forum 07-07A, 15 March 2007.

Desmond Ball, Whither the Japan-Australia security relationship? Austral Policy
Forum 06-32A 21 September 2006.

Disarmament polices


Non Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


Japan’s Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Policy, Fourth Edition, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Conditions towards Zero: 11 Benchmarks for Global Nuclear Disarmament, Statement by Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

“I would like to propose the following 11 benchmarks for promoting “global nuclear disarmament” based on the three major pillars that I mentioned earlier — nuclear disarmament steps by all states holding nuclear weapons, disarmament and non-proliferation measures by the entire international community, namely multilateral measures, and measures for countries seeking peaceful uses of nuclear energy — and explain them as concisely as possible.

Japan will do its utmost so that the 11 benchmarks for global nuclear disarmament that I mentioned can be accomplished. In particular, we plan to propose these benchmarks at the 2010 NPT Review Conference and foster a favorable environment for a successful conclusion of this Conference. Meanwhile, I hope that the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, which I mentioned at the beginning of my speech and which is co-chaired by former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, will draw up a set of realistic, action-oriented proposals that will guide all countries toward a world free of nuclear weapons at its final meeting scheduled to be held in Hiroshima this autumn.”

1. Nuclear Disarmament by All States Holding Nuclear Weapons

–    Leadership of and Cooperation between the United States and Russia
–    Nuclear Disarmament by China and the Other States Holding Nuclear Weapons
–    Transparency over Nuclear Arsenals
–    Irreversible Nuclear Disarmament
–    Study on Future Verification

2. Measures to Be Taken by the Entire International Community (Multilateral Measures)

–    Ban on Nuclear Tests
–    Ban on Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapon Purposes
–    Restrictions on Ballistic Missiles

3. Measures to Support Countries Promoting Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

–    International Cooperation for Civil Nuclear Energy
–    IAEA Safeguards
–    Prevention of nuclear terrorism

Related Nautilus Institute and partner programs

Global Nuclear Futures Briefing Book, Nautilus Institute

Japan is one of the world’s leading producers of nuclear energy, as well as one of the few non-nuclear-weapons states that possesses both uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities. The documents in this collection look at Japan’s future plans for nuclear energy, as well as its continued stockpiling of nuclear material.

Although Australia possesses one of the world’s largest reserves of uranium, it does not currently operate any nuclear power plants. The papers in this collection cover the debate over whether Australia should begin a nuclear power program, as well as the implications of large-scale mining and export of Australian uranium.

Civil society nuclear monitoring and verification project, Nautilus Institute.

The project draws on transnational civil society networks to hold up a “mirror” to reflect back to influential South Korean and Japanese policy and decision-makers at many levels of society the totality of what they are saying and doing with regard to nuclear weapons, and how this is viewed externally; and thereby increase the accountability of decision makers in Japan and Korea to constituencies inside and outside of their countries affected by pro- and anti-nuclear weapons decisions.

Asian Energy Security, Nautilus Institute

US- Japan International Workshop on Reducing Threats Posed by Nuclear Weapons, Pugwash Japan.

Reframing Australia-Indonesia Security, Nautilus Institute

Implementing UNSC 1540, Nautilus Institute

Preventing nuclear next-use, Global Problem Solving, Nautilus Institute

Extended nuclear deterrence