On March 30, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) submitted a recommendation for the steps Japan should take to effectively respond to an ever-heightening missile threat from North Korea. The recommendations had three main parts: potential new acquisition of ballistic missile defense (BMD) assets to enhance existing BMD capability; exploration of acquiring “counter-attack” capability; and protection of exclusive economic zones (EEZ).
Out of the three recommendation, the second — exploration of “counter-attack” capability — attracted the biggest attention for its controversial nature. While the members of the study group — comprised mostly of former defense ministers, former deputy defense ministers, and former parliamentary vice ministers — emphasized that they do not intend to recommend Japan acquire “pre-emptive strike” capability, the senior members of Komeito, LDP’s ruling coalition partner, are already voicing concern that Japan’s move to acquire such “offensive” capability may contradict with “exclusively defense-oriented defense posture (senshu bouei),” one of the fundamental principles of Japan’s post-war defense policy.
This article was originally published in The Diplomat on March 31, 2017. Read the full article here.