US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (2nd R) and Defense Secretary James Mattis (R) poses with Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono (2nd L) and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera (L) ahead of the start of the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee in August. Photo: Reuters / Mandel Ngan

A “Critical Issues Poll” conducted by the University of Maryland in November found that 52 percent of Americans would support the placement of American nuke warheads in Japan and/or South Korea if Pyongyang doesn’t give up nuclear weapons. 21 percent opposed the move; 27 percent said they didn’t know; 1 percent declined to give an answer.

On the issue of Japan acquiring their own nuclear weapons, 40 percent of Americans surveyed were opposed. But a sizable 33 percent or about one-third said they backed the idea. 26 percent said they didn’t know, while 1 percent gave no answer.

For South Korea, the response was nearly identical. Forty-one percent opposed a South Korean nuclear arsenal, while 33 percent or about one-third favored the idea. 26 percent didn’t know and 1 percent refused to reply.

The survey results were presented on Monday at a panel on “Confronting North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs: American and Japanese views of threats and options compared” at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

The online poll was carried out on November 1-6, 2017 from a nationally representative sample. Respondents were recruited by mail and telephone using a random sample of adults. The national sample was 2,000.

Responses were weighted by age, gender, income, education, race, and geographic region using benchmarks from the US Census. The survey was also weighted on political party lines.

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