Nuclear deterrence is taking center stage in Japan's security policy after Russia's threat to use nuclear weapons amid its war against Ukraine, with Tokyo re-emphasizing the centrality of the U.S. nuclear umbrella amid regional tensions heightened by China's muscle flexing.

But Japan will still face a delicate balancing act since, as the only country to have experienced the horrors of a nuclear attack, it remains committed to leading discussions on bringing about a world without nuclear weapons and will continue to face calls from survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings to do more to achieve that.

When launching the attack on Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin reminded the world that Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states, saying there should be no doubt that "any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country."