The Japanese Nuclear Vector V1.1
First posted 30 October 2021; Updated 3 March 2023
Table of Contents
Japanese heat shield reentry test
Japanese full-range reentry vehicle (RV) test
Japanese second cosmic velocity reentry vehicle (RV) test
Japan’s nuclear warhead
Japan has already accessed to the status of military superpower.
Well, with Japan’s Epsilon rocket, this makes another one with dual-use civilian-military, latent ICBM capabilities.
Which begs the question, of which nation will be targeted by Japan with the tacit accord of the U.S.A., at more than 5’500 km distance? Probably the same as South Korea.
The fundamentals that dictates the policies are: territorial cores (Kuril island, Dok Island, Senkaku Island, etc), strategic resources (rare earth, hydrocarbons, oceanic seabed metals, etc).
Plentiful of frictions here, but worse, like during the collapse of the Mongol Empire, the splinters will start to fight against each others.
This happened right after the Soviet Union’s formal defeat at the end of the Cold War in 1991.
Who can tell when the day the Russian Federation collapses into various splinter factions, whether Japan who never signed a peace treaty after WWII with Russia due to territorial claims, will not be the first to use force and try to reclaim the northern occupied territories?
After China, it is the 2nd power with such capability in East Asia.
2. Nuclear milestones
Japan has already mastered most of the prerequisites necessary for becoming a latent nuclear military powerhouse.
Test an ICBM vector
Test a reentry vehicle
Test a Post Boost Vehicle (PBV)
Test a reentry vehicle at second cosmic velocity (optional)
✗ Test MIRVs
Process weapon-grade fissile material
Stockpile weapon-grade fissile material
Design a nuclear warhead
✗ Test a functional nuclear warhead design
To complete the ICBM program Japan only needs to achieve only a few more steps.
3. Epsilon SLV/ICBM
The first component is the vector, a solid propellant ballistic missile of over 5’500 km range (ICBM).
The possession of the Epsilon rocket gives Japan an ICBM capability comparable to the Chinese DF-41.
PLA DF-41 ICBM
Length ~21 metres
Diameter ~2.25 m
Operational range ~14,000–15,000 kilometres
Japan Epsilon rocket
Mass 91 t
Length 26 m
Diameter 2.5 m
Operational range ~14,000–15,000 kilometres
▲ 2. Map of Japan’s ICBM range to Russia
4. Japanese heat shield reentry test
Please note that under the guise of “civilian research and demonstration platform”, Japan has tested live and perfected with the tacit connivance of the U.S. its warhead reentry technologies:
• On January 15, 1995, launched by a M-3SII rocket from the Kagoshima Space Center, jointly developed by Japan and Germany, the EXPRESS’s reentry vehicle or “capsule”, that should have landed in Woomera, Australia, and that was not injected into the planned orbit due to a rocket malfunction.
Total Weight 765kg
-Service Module 360kg
-Re-entry Module 405kg
Heat Shield Ablator
Attitude Control 3-Axis Control
Payload Power Continuous 92W, Peak 400W
EXPRESS (Experiment Re-entry Space System) was a multi-national (Germany, Japan, Russia, Australia) project for a small, micro gravity and reentry research spacecraft. The spacecraft was procured from Khrunichev for a cost of 30 Mio. DM.
The payload used a Russian-built reentry vehicle, based on an ICBM reentry vehicle, a Russian built service module, derived from the OGCh (FOBS) fractional orbital bombing system, and the launch was carried out by the Japanese ISAS space agency on a M-3S-2 with KM-M kick motor.
The reentry vehicle carried two CATEX materials processing ovens, and three German (CETEX, PYREX and RAFLEX) and one Japanese (RTEX) heat shield material reentry experiments.
▲ 2. Japanese reentry vehicle launched on January 15, 1995.
▲ 3. Japanese reentry vehicle launched on January 15, 1995 and recovered in Ghana, Africa.
5. Japanese full-range reentry vehicle (RV) test
• On September 10, 2002, launched by a H-IIA rocket, the USERS reentry vehicle or “spacecraft”, and that remained in orbit approximately 8.5 months, before de-orbiting and splashing down at 6:23 JST on May 29, 2003 at open sea east of Ogasawara Islands.
Total Weight 1696 kg (3,740 pounds)
Payload Power 700W
Data link 遥测： USB：2048bps
- 指令： USB：4000bps
Recovery system GPS无线电信标，ARGOS信号发射器
▲ 4. USERS Reentry vehicle outline.
▲ 5. Kawasaki Heat Shield Technology used in the Reentry vehicle.
▲ 6. Reentry vehicle recovered in the Pacific Ocean around the Ogasawara Islands after its re-entry in May 2003.
6. Japanese second cosmic velocity reentry vehicle (RV) test
Please note that under the guise of “civilian research and demonstration platform”, Japan has tested live and perfected with the tacit connivence of the U.S. its warhead reentry technologies.
With today’s Hayabusa-2 Asteroid Sampling Return mission successful recovery of a Reentry Vehicle at the speed of the second cosmic velocity, Japan concludes a second demonstration of dual-use civilian-military technology. Under the nose and applause of the international community.
6:34 PM · Dec 5, 2020·Twitter Web App
After ejecting the heat shield, the capsule was due to deploy a parachute and begin emitting a beacon that could be detected from 5 stations assembled in Woomera. The location of the capsule is then identified by triangulating the directions each station “sees” the beacon.
Today (12/6) at 03:07 JST, as a result of the beacon direction search, the capsule landing point has been estimated. Now, we will search by helicopter.
Today (12/6) at 04:47 JST, as a result of the helicopter search, we found a capsule in the planned landing area!
▲ 7. Photo of the Hayabusa-2 fireball from on-site.
▲ 8. The Hayabusa-2 capsule with pieces of an asteroid.
▲ 9. Returned samples from asteroid retrieved from Hayabusa-2
After the Epsilon solid propellant ICBM, the re-entry warhead, these same technologies are the next step, in the development and testing of a Japanese nuclear vector: the validation of its Post Boost Vehicle.
7. Japanese HGV
Japan mulls anti-aircraft carrier gliding missiles for remote island defense
February 25, 2020 (Mainichi Japan)
TOKYO – Japan’s Defense Ministry is considering upgrading its “hyper velocity gliding projectiles” (HVGP), a new type of missile it is seeking to deploy in fiscal 2026 for the defense of remote islands, to add an anti-ship capability to them, it has been learned.
The move is aimed at improving the defense of the Nansei Islands in southwestern Japan amid China’s maritime activities in the region. HVGPs can glide at high velocity after payloads are detached from a rocket in the upper atmosphere where air resistance is low. The missiles are capable of following complex trajectories under the guidance of GPS and other systems, making it harder for an adversary to intercept them than conventional missiles.
The Defense Ministry eyes equipping HVGPs with a new type of payload that is capable of penetrating the deck of aircraft carriers. However, enhancing the firing range and other capabilities of Self-Defense Force (SDF) equipment could be called into question over its consistency with Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented policy. The ministry therefore is planning to give due consideration, such as limiting the missile range to around 500 kilometers or less.
The development of HVGPs will come in two stages. In the first stage, an early equipment type will be developed for possible deployment by the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) in fiscal 2026, targeting a potential enemy invading Japan’s remote islands. In the second stage, an upgraded type will be developed for possible installation in fiscal 2028 or later, featuring claw-shaped payloads, enhanced speeds and firing ranges, and more complex trajectories.
Furthermore, the ministry is also mulling introducing advanced anti-ship and anti-surface missiles, which are currently under investigation by the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency. If these technologies are incorporated into HVGPs, the projectiles can penetrate aircraft carrier decks, which are harder than its external walls, before being detonated inside the vessel to make it impossible for aircraft to take off or land, as well as destroy targets within a range of several hundred meters squared.
Behind the ministry’s move lies China’s intensifying maritime moves in waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture and other parts of Japan. In 2012, China commissioned its first aircraft carrier Liaoning, and the second such vessel, Shandong, was launched in 2019. Shandong is the first Chinese-made carrier. Beijing is said to be further seeking to add at least two more carrier vessels.
Chinese government vessels have been frequently spotted navigating in contiguous zones near the Senkaku Islands and intruding into Japanese territorial waters. While the main island of Okinawa and the Senkakus are about 420 kilometers apart, the GSDF’s current missile range is set at just over a hundred kilometers. The introduction of longer-range gliding missiles to protect the Nansei Islands would make it possible for Japan to respond to China’s activities without deploying the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s vessels and aircraft.
The Defense Ministry allocated a total of 18.5 billion yen in the fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets for research on HVGPs for the defense of remote islands, and plans to add another 25 billion yen in the fiscal 2020 budget. However, some legislators in the Diet have pointed out that acquisition of the new capabilities could “make it possible for the SDF to directly attack other countries’ territories” and “deviate from Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented policy.” The development of the new technologies is also feared to threaten Japan’s neighbors.
The government has defended the HVGP development, stating, “They are intended for homeland defense and are not considered attacking weapons.”
(Japanese original by Yusuke Tanabe, Political News Department)
▲ 10. Japan’s Defense Ministry is considering upgrading its “hyper velocity gliding projectiles” (HVGP).
First image of the Japanese HGV
And another clumsy sophistry, this time presented as accidentally leaks images when it was obviously an intended orchestrated governmental propaganda operation of a long awaited public disclosure…
Japan accidentally leaks image of new hypersonic anti-ship missile
Jul 9, 2020
On July 7, Japan’s Vice Defense Minister Tomohiro Yamamoto visited the research center for aviation and rocket technology of the Self-Defense Forces, located in a suburb of Tokyo. The official got acquainted with the progress in implementing promising defense programs, in particular with R&D for a new generation fighter of national development and weapons systems for it.
Japan’s Vice Defense Minister also posted a picture to its Twitter account that included what looked like a hypersonic guided missile able to attack both ships or ground targets.
According to a local source, this is a new hypersonic anti-ship missile developing by Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA).
As Naval News previously reported, the new missile aims to be powered by a Dual-Mode Scramjet engine (DMSJ), a combination of ramjet and scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engines, to fly at a wide range of speeds, including hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 or higher.
The new missile designed to cruise at high altitudes and could pose a threat to Chinese aircraft carriers in the East China Sea.
Previously it was reported the Japanese Ministry of Defense planned to deploy an early version of the missile in 2026, followed by an enhanced version after 2028. With such a missile in service, Japan would be the fourth country in the world armed with hypersonic gliding technology, after China, Russia and the United States.
▲ 11. Japan’s Vice Defense Minister posted a picture of the HVGP to its Twitter account.
It only requires to put the new HGV on an Epsilon ICBM, to evade the missile defence over Moscow and St Petersburg.
Conclusion, this continuous arms race will only be sustainable by military powers that have the most scientific capacities.
8. Japan’s nuclear warhead
The Empire of Japan’s nuclear program during WWII
Very rare are the cinematographic depictions of the Nipponese atomic bomb program during the Pacific War.
Gift of Fire (2020) 太陽の子 |2| is probably among the first ever ‘Nipponese atomic bomb program’ genre movie ever produced. The fact-based drama film is a co-production between Japan and the U.S.A and is written and directed by Hiroshi Kurosaki.
The film stars Yagira Yuya, Arimura Kasumi, Miura Haruma.
In the midst of the Pacific War, a young Japanese researcher struggles to honor his obligations to science, his family, his country, and his own morality while working for Japan’s own nuclear weapon effort, a secret program that remained largely unknown until the 2010s.
Japan Tested Atomic Bomb in NK Before End of WWII?
By Robert Neff
It is common knowledge that on October 9, 2006 North Korea tested a small nuclear bomb. But there is debate as to whether or not this was the first atomic bomb test done in Korea. Ever since the end of World War II there have been rumors that Japan, just days before its surrender, tested a small atomic bomb off the coast of modern Hamheung.
Allegedly, on the evening of August 11, 1945, a number of ancient ships, junks and fishing boats were anchored near a small inlet by the Japanese. Just before dawn on August 12, a remote controlled launch carrying the atomic bomb known as ``genzai bakudan’’ (greatest fighter), slowly made its way through the assembled fleet and beached itself.
Nearly twenty miles away, observers wearing welders’ glasses were blinded by the bomb’s terrific blast. ‘The ball of fire was estimated to be 1,000 yards in diameter. A multicolored cloud of vapors boiled towards the heavens then mushroomed in the stratosphere. The churn of water and vapor obscured the vessels directly under the burst. Ships and junks on the fringe burned fiercely at anchor. When the atmosphere cleared slightly the observers could detect several vessels had vanished.’
David Snell, an American journalist, broke the story and published his article on October 2, 1946 in the Atlanta Constitution. The article was based primarily on an interview Snell had with Captain Tsetusuo Wakabayashi (pseudonym), a Japanese counter-intelligence officer, near a Shinto shrine overlooking Seoul (probably near present day Namsan Tower).
This account has been controversial since it was first published and continues to remain the subject of books and documentaries. Few question Snell’s integrity as a journalist and, as an investigator attached to the 24th Criminal Investigation Department in Seoul, he clearly had access to Japanese officers and scientists but there are many inaccuracies in his account.
The 2002 discovery of blueprints for a 20-kiloton bomb clearly indicates that the Japanese were trying to develop an atomic weapon at the end of the war. But how close were they?
Wakabayashi claimed the Japanese atomic bomb project was moved from Japan to Hamheung, at the time the largest industrial center in East Asia, following bombing attacks by American B-29 bombers in April 1945. ‘We lost three months in the transfer,’ declared Wakabayashi. ‘We would have had genzai bakudan three months earlier if it had not been for the B-29.’
Recent accounts support Wakabayashi’s account of the damage done by the B-29s to the research center in Japan but disagree on how close atomic bomb was to production.
According to Tatsusaburo Suzuki, a Japanese physicist who served as a lieutenant colonel in the Japanese army during World War II: ‘We believed in 1945 that we could build a bomb but we had to work much harder…I was confident at the time we could have built a bomb if we had better equipment.’
Nakane Ryohei who worked on enriching uranium for Japan’s atomic bomb efforts said, ``We were carrying out our research so leisurely. None of us thought we would finish before the war ended.‘’
Wakabayashi claimed that the Japanese, shortly after successfully testing genzai bakudan, realized that the Russians would soon occupy Hamheung and tried to hide or erase the project. They smashed much of the machinery, burned documents and destroyed ‘several partially completed genzai bakudan.’ They also dynamited shut the cave entrance leading into the underground bunker that served as their secret laboratory.
The Russians advanced so quickly that they captured seven key scientists and immediately began to torture them by thrusting burning slivers under their fingertips and pouring water into their nasal passages. One scientist managed to escape to the American zone but the others were reportedly taken back to Moscow where they were further tortured for their secrets.
Many modern researchers find fault with Wakabayashi’s claims including Walter E. Grunden who compared the American plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee (93 square miles with 82,000 personnel all dedicated to the production of U-235) to Hamheung, a mere 15 square miles, which at its peak probably had about 45,000 personnel, many of them ‘Korean laborers, conscripted students, convicts, and prisoners of war,’’ who were primarily involved in ‘manufacturing synthetic fuel, explosives, and industrial chemicals.’ Grunden also claims that there were only five buildings in Hamheung that the United States was unsure of their purpose.
There were, however, reports in October 1950 that the South Korean army captured a large underground bunker and complex in the Hamheung area believed to be a Russian uranium processing plant but the next month the United States military refuted the story.
Further damning is Wakabayashi’s claim that the Russians captured Hamheung only a day or so following the test. The Russian actually occupied the city on August 22 about ten days after the test.
Wakabayashi claimed that seven unnamed leading Japanese scientists who helped build the bomb were captured and six of them were sent to Moscow but Grunden names them. According to him they were ‘Oishi Takeo, Wakabayashi Tadashiro, Takahashi Rikizo, Sato Sei, Fukuda Koken and Tsuchida Meiro, none were physicists, but some were chemists’ and were under the command of Captain Hasegawa Hideo.
By September 29 they were all arrested and charged with the destruction of Russian government property and eventually found guilty and were sentenced to imprisonment with hard labor in Siberia for 5 to 7 years.
According to one American newspaper, the rapid Russian seizure of the ‘security shrouded industrial development gnawed at the curiosity of America’s top intelligence officials.’ When Edwin Pauley, a member of the War Reparations Committee, inspected northern Korea he was restricted to certain areas and was under constant Russian supervision. Even the Red Cross was not allowed to travel into the Hamheung area.
Snell claimed that the Russians were so concerned with maintaining secrecy in the region that on August 29, 1945, they shot down an American B-29 attempting to drop provisions and medical supplies at an allied prisoner of war camp near the city. They later claimed they thought the aircraft might have been a Japanese bomber even though it had American markings and the war had ended nearly two weeks earlier.
But even this is not completely correct. According to Bill Streifer, the co-author of The Flight of the Hog Wild, there were three B-29s sent out on a ‘mercy mission’ to provide food and supplies for the 302 British and 52 Australian POWs held near Hamheng. While the first two B-29s may have been legitimate, the third B-29, known as the Hog Wild, was probably on a photo recon mission.
The Hog Wild was one of the newest B-29s and was equipped with the most sophisticated radar and a high-precision K-20 camera. Unlike the first two B-29s, the Hog Wild circled Hamheung several times before the suspicious Russians sent four fighters that intercepted and ordered it to land at a nearby Russian-controlled airfield.
When the Hog Wild declined it was attacked and forced to land. The crew was held for 18 days before being released. Streifer doesn’t believe an atomic bomb was ever tested in Hamhung. In an email correspondence he wrote,
‘I have personally interviewed an allied prisoner of war who was about five miles away at the time. He didn’t recall an explosion at sea. I also read the diaries of other POWs, and they make no mention of an explosion at sea. If an atomic bomb explodes five miles away, you’ll know it!’
The possibility of Japan having conducted an atomic test in Hamheung continues to be a subject for debate. Articles supporting and disproving the possibility have appeared in prestigious journals such as Science and Intelligence and National Security. It has even been made into a documentary by the Discovery Channel.
Gruden asserted that stories such as this, once they have become historical myths are almost impossible to dispel and suggested that the allegations of Japan’s testing of the bomb in Hamheung was, as Snell had concluded, ``…the answer to moralists who question the decision of the United States to drop an atomic bomb.‘’
The writer first came to Korea with the U.S. military, and now works as a full time historian on Korea in Seoul. He is the co-author of a study of the lives of Westerners in Joseon Kingdom era. He can be reached at
Japan’s latent nuclear capabilities in the 21st century
KAPPC on Extension of U.S.-Japan Atomic Energy Agreement
Aug. 6, Juche 107 (2018) Monday
Japan which had conducted nuclear researches from early in the 1930s began to earnestly push forward the A-bomb development upon entering the 1940s under the direct governance by the military just until its defeat.
In 1956 they adopted the policy on the re-processing of spent nuclear fuel for the potential possession of nuclear capabilities and began to produce plutonium from 1977. In the 1980s they even manufactured fast breeder reactor called Monju for the mass-procurement of plutonium.
After the adoption of the U.S.-Japan atomic energy agreement in 1988 Japan has been keen on the extraction of plutonium even by importing and re-processing spent nuclear fuel from other countries.
Japan is the only country the plutonium production through nuclear reprocessing by which is allowed in the world except the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Through the 1988 U.S.-Japan atomic energy agreement, the U.S. granted Japan the right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel which heartened the Japanese ▄▄ spur the stockpiling of plutonium for nuclear weaponization for the past 30 years.
Far back in the middle of the 1950s the U.S. transferred uranium enrichment technology and other core technologies necessary for the nuclear weapons development to Japan under “Atomic Energy Marshall Plan” and by the end of the 1960s it offered Japan weapons-grade plutonium weighing 365 kg under the excuse of test.
It was the Ford Administration of the U.S. which agreed on the construction of reprocessing factory in Japan in 1976 and it was the Carter Administration that hinted at Japan in 1977 that nuclear weapons can be made with atomic reactor-grade plutonium.
The adoption of the July, 1988 U.S.-Japan atomic energy agreement granted Japan the right to plutonium extraction by reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and uranium enrichment, a step little short of giving free rein to the Japanese ▄▄ ambition for independent nuclear weaponization.
The amount of plutonium stockpiled in the world so far is 518 tons out of which 47 tons are held by Japan.
Since the Empire of Japan’s nuclear program started in the 1930s was even more advanced than the Soviet’s or German’s counterparts during WWII, with even a possible nuclear test by the summer of 1945 according to U.S. sources, the design of a modern warhead is today not a hurdle.
Fissile material being not an issue either, with 47 tons of Plutonium in Japan’s possession, the production of a prototype miniaturized warhead then a large size arsenal could be done within a few months from notice.
The expected ultimate step, to be followed closely will be the detonation in some remote outer space body of its miniaturized nuclear device, and under the pretext of space exploration!
If Japan did not want to sign a peace treaty back in 1945 with the Soviet Union, because of the occupation of its northern core territories, it has even less reasons to do so today or in the near future.
As a toothless aging paper tiger, the nuclear blackmail can only work on minor third-world defenseless failed-states such as Georgia, Belarus or Iraq, but never against the 4th space and nuclear military superpower!