At a news conference on Nov. 24, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera related that at his meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the Philippines in October, Shoigu told him that “if there is no longer any North Korean threat, there will be no need for Japan to possess equipment” for ballistic missile defense (BMD).
In light of Russia’s opposition to Japan’s BMD, Onodera had remarked at the meeting that, “The possession of such capability is because of the North Korean threat. We hope for Russia’s cooperation to eliminate this threat.” Shoigu’s statement was in response to this.
However, part of the reason for Japan’s BMD is cooperation with the U.S. to apply pressure on China and Russia. A Japanese Defense Ministry source voiced the criticism that, “Imprudent remarks may end up restricting Japan’s defense policy direction.”