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SECURITY > Self-Defense Forces

LDP study panel to recommend acquiring enemy base attack capability

  • March 30, 2017
  • , Asahi , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

A  Liberal Democratic Party panel studying ballistic missile defense drew up recommendations on March 29 about acquiring the capability to conduct preemptive strikes against enemy missile bases. The panel, chaired by former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, will urge the government to begin deliberations on acquiring the capability. “There is no time to lose,” the panel pointed out in the wake of repeated missile launches by North Korea. “It is important to disable enemy bases that launch missiles against Japan through counterattacks,” Onodera emphasized at a press conference after a meeting of the panel.


The recommendations were adopted on the same day at a joint meeting between the LDP’s National Defense Division and Research Commission on Security. The recommendations used the expression “the capability to launch counterattacks against enemy bases” to describe the capability to conduct preemptive strikes against enemy bases, the central pillar of the document. Onodera explained why such language was used by saying, “The recommendations are based in principle based on the scenario of Japan being attacked first.” However, the capability to counterattack enemy bases is no different from the capability to conduct preemptive strikes. By using such language, the LDP apparently intended to minimize the concerns of the international community about Japan’s possession of a new attack capability.


In the recommendations, the LDP also urged the government to obtain new missile defense systems such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the ground-based Aegis Ashore system. If introduced, these new systems would cost tens of billions of yen to hundreds of billions of yen. In addition, acquiring such systems would inevitably alarm Japan’s neighboring countries such as China and Russia and invite opposition from them.


The panel will submit the recommendations to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on March 30. “It is the government’s responsibility to protect the lives and property of the public,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a press conference on the afternoon of March 29. “If submitted, the government would like to take the recommendations seriously.” Based on the recommendations, the government plans to move forward with drawing up the five-year defense buildup program to upgrade the equipment of the Self-Defense Forces.


On the other hand, Democratic Party Deputy President Jun Azumi criticized the idea of Japan possessing the capability to conduct preemptive strikes, saying: “To avoid moving in the wrong direction, Japan has placed restrictions on the SDF ever since World War II. Such a change would be a very serious matter. It could be tantamount to altering the Constitution in effect without officially revising the top law.”

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