What is the Pandemic-Nuclear-Nexus Scenarios Project?
Pandemic-Nuclear-Nexus Project

What is the Pandemic-Nuclear-Nexus Scenarios Project?

The APLN in collaboration with the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA) and the Nautilus Institute held the Nagasaki 75th Anniversary Pandemic-Nuclear Nexus Scenarios project. This project identified opportunities for governments, civil society, and market actors to reduce nuclear risk and resume nuclear disarmament in Northeast Asia, with special attention to new strategies emerging from this unprecedented time in history.

Four workshops with forty cross-disciplinary group from diverse backgrounds, ages and nationalities from across the Asia-Pacific and North America were convened to develop four possible visions of the future-between now and 2030-through scenario planning. The opening session was live-streamed on YouTube and still available to watch.

Scenario planning is a widely used methodology for imagining future conditions that are highly uncertain, and generating robust strategies for shaping the future. It is used to explore systematically the unknown forces of the future, design a finite set of future narratives, and then generate alternative strategies. The most successful scenario-planning exercises convene experts, thought leaders, and non-conventional thinkers to together create possibilities that could otherwise not be seen.

The workshops generated a final report that identifies future scenarios, challenges and opportunities for governments, civil society, and market actors to reduce existential risks, including nuclear risks, in Northeast Asia. It contains a series of “robust actions” and recommendations that if taken today would ensure that states and societies are better prepared for future risks. The report is available in English, Korean, and Japanese.

Final Report

To inform the workshop discussions and scenario planning exercise, the following special reports were produced and distributed.

Special Reports

  1. G. D. HESS: The Impact of a Regional Nuclear Conflict between India and Pakistan: Two Views
  2. Leon V. SIGAL: The U.S. Election and Nuclear Order in the Post-Pandemic World
  3. Masao TOMONAGA: Nagasaki’s Voice: 75 Years’ Experience
  4. C.G. Nicholas MASCIE-TAYLOR and Kazuhiko MOJI: Pandemics
  5. Allan BEHM: Extended Deterrence and Extended Nuclear Deterrence in a Pandemic World
  6. Michael HAMEL-GREEN: An Alternative to Nuclear Deadlock and Stalled Diplomacy: Proposals, Pathways, and Prospects for the Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone
  7. Brian NICHIPORUK: COVID-19 and Labor Demand, Migration, and Military Force Structure Implications in East Asia
  8. Richard PILCH and Miles POMPER: Asia-Pacific Perspective on Biological Weapons and Nuclear Deterrence in the Pandemic Era
  9. Changwoo SHON: The Role of Cities as First Responders to Pandemics: Focusing on the Case of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Response to COVID-19
  10. Petr TOPYCHKANOV: Assessing the Modernization of Nuclear Postures
  11. David G. LEGGE and Sun KIM: Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines: Cooperation around Research and Production Capacity Is Critical
  12. Lynn EDEN: U.S. Planning for Pandemics and Large-Scale Nuclear War
  13. Hans KRISTENSEN and Matthew McKINZIE: Nuclear War in Northeast Asia: Nuclear Forces and Nuclear War Planning

Workshop Goals

  1. Develop an analytical understanding of the interrelated nature of the co-occurring existential threats of nuclear weapons and global pandemics;
  2. Explore potential levers and pathways to influence the future under various conditions; and
  3. Identify concrete strategies to reduce the risk of nuclear war and resume nuclear disarmament to be considered by state and non-state actors.

Open Session

The first session was livestreamed on Saturday 31 October from 9am (KST) on YouTube and still available to watch.

Promotional Video

Watch six workshop participants offer their views on this project here.

This workshop was convened by:

The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA), Nagasaki University (日本語)
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability

Funded by:

Nagasaki University (日本語)
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation