When former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe encouraged a discussion on what amounted to stationing U.S. nuclear bombs on the territory of the sole nation to be attacked with them, it wasn’t clear what kind of reaction he expected — or if he had ulterior motives.

Japanese, with images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seared into their minds, have long had what observers call a “nuclear allergy.” Even the mere discussion of allowing nuclear weapons into Japanese territory has proven toxic for politicians.

Although a handful of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party who are close to Abe quickly lined up to endorse his idea of discarding these taboos and examining a NATO-style nuclear-sharing deal with the United States, the concept quickly lost steam.