Nikkei reported that the ruling LDP is considering not using the phrase “capabilities to strike enemy bases” on the grounds that the wording implies “preemptive strike” capabilities, which are prohibited under international law. Various alternatives have been suggested, such as “counter capabilities for self-defense,” “capabilities to counter enemy bases,” and “standoff defense.” An LDP Diet member belonging to the party’s defense clique reportedly said: “ The phrase ‘capabilities to strike enemy bases’ can be interpreted as ‘preemptive strike’ capabilities. We will use such words as ‘self defense’ or ‘counter’ to make it clear that the SDF will continue to operate within the boundaries of the exclusive defense principle.”
In a related article, Asahi wrote that the Lower House Security Committee plans to convene a meeting today to discuss the GOJ decision to cancel the Aegis Ashore project and Prime Minister Abe’s desire to allow the SDF to possess capabilities to strike enemy bases. The dailies elaborated on the various legal, technological, and budgetary hurdles that Japan needs to clear to acquire such capabilities, adding that the idea could backfire by triggering strong reactions from China, North Korea, and/or Russia, hence causing the security environment around Japan to deteriorate.