Security Studies Program Seminars

"Satellite Imagery Analysis-China's Plutonium Production and Nuclear Arms Expansion"

SPF China Observer

Organized by: Sasakawa Peace Foundation

The Sasakawa Peace Foundation has been conducting a project to publish research papers by Japanese experts analyzing China's politics, economy, society, diplomacy, and security through a satellite website, SPF China Observer. In addition, public forums are periodically held with the authors of this project.

In an effort to balance forces with the U.S., China has ramped up its nuclear arms buildup, causing the U.S. to significantly increase its estimate for the number of nuclear warheads possessed by China. Against this backdrop, some now argue that China is in fact increasing production of plutonium for civilian use in order to secretly divert it to military use. To consider these arguments, the fifth session of FY 2022 will focus on China’s nuclear arms buildup by analyzing satellite images of nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities and fast breeder reactors.

The speaker of this session will be Yuki Kobayashi, SPF Research Fellow and author of “China's Plutonium Production and Nuclear Arms Expansion.” The discussant will be General (Ret.) Sadamasa Oue, Former Commander of Air Material Command Headquarters at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). Additionally, SPF Senior Fellow Bonji Ohara will moderate the discussion.

We look forward to your participation.


Visit the SPF China Observer website.

Read the article here:
Signs of China’s Resumption of Nuclear Tests: Strong Determination to Bolster Nuclear Force and the Crisis of Nuclear Proliferation

Security Studies Program
Tel: +81-3-5157-5209

For media inquiries:
Tel: +81-3-5157-5395


13:00-13:05 JST Opening
13:05-13:45 JST Presentation, Discussion

Yuki Kobayashi (Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation)

Sadamasa Oue (Gen.(Ret.)・Former Commander of Air Material Command Headquarters, JASDF)

Bonji Ohara (Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation)
13:45-14:00 JST Q&A
14:00 JST Closing


Yuki Kobayashi

Yuki Kobayashi

Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation.


Born in 1972, Kobayashi graduated from the School of Law and Politics at Kwansei Gakuin University. He then joined Kahoku Shimpo, and after working in the editorial department’s economic section, he left the company in 2007. He received a master’s degree in international relations from Sciences Po Strasbourg in 2013, and a master’s degree in public policy from Sciences Po Rennes in 2014. He enrolled in the doctoral course at Mines ParisTech in 2015, earning his Ph.D. in 2019 with his thesis, “The Relationship between Politics and Science in the Crisis Response to the Accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.” He has held his current position since July 2019. His recent publications include “Contributions by Nuclear Technology and Next-Generation Nuclear Reactors to Nonproliferation,” in the April issue of Komei, and “Russia’s Ukraine Invasion and the Protection of Nuclear Plants during War — a First-Time Challenge,” (IINA).

Sadamasa Oue

Sadamasa Oue

Lieutenant General (Ret.), Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Company Advisor, Fellow of Strategic Studies Institute.


Born in Nara, he entered the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) as a graduate of the National Defense Academy in 1982. Throughout his military career, he has been involved with policy development and program promotion, as well as budget request regarding BMD, F-35 introduction, Joint Staff reorganization and more. Upon promotion to Lieutenant General he assumed the position of Commandant of the Air Staff College. Afterwards, he served as a Commander of the Northern Air Defense Command, responsible for coping with missile launches from North Korea, responding to Russian air activities to defend the territorial aerospace of Japan, and maintaining readiness to provide forces with other defense sectors’ operations. He retired in August 2017 as a Commander of Air Materiel Command, responsible for logistic operations of all Air Self Defense Force activities. LTG OUE earned his Master of Public Administration from J. F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 1997, and Master of National Security Strategy from the National War College, National Defense University of the U.S.A. in 2002. Between July 2019 and June 2021, he served at the Harvard Asia Center as a Senior Fellow. He currently serves as a company advisor and a special fellow of the Strategic Studies Institute.

Bonji Ohara

Bonji Ohara

Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation


Graduated from the National Defense Academy of Japan in 1985 and completed his Master’s program (area studies) at the University of Tsukuba in 1998. Joined the Maritime Self‐Defense Forces in 1985 and became a helicopter pilot. Stationed in China between 2003 and 2006 as a naval attaché. Became chief of the intelligence section, MSDF Maritime Staff Office, Ministry of Defense, in 2006 and commanding officer of the 21st Flight Squadron, MSDF, in 2009. Worked at IHS Jane’s from 2011 as an analyst and business development manager and joined The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research in 2013, and became the Director of Policy Research in 2016 before assuming his present position in June 2017. His works include Chugoku no gunji senryaku (China’s Military Strategy), Toyo Keizai Inc., co-author of Magari kado ni tatsu chugoku (China at a Turning Point), NTT Publishing, Beichu shin reisen no makuake (After Sharp Power), Toyo Keizai Inc., and Yoku wakaru gendai chugoku seiji (Contemporary Chinese Politics), Minervashobo, Taiwan yuji no shinario: Nihon no anzenhosho wo kenshosuru (Scenarios for a Taiwan Contingency: Appraising Japan’s Security) , Minervashobo.

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