The Saturday editions of all national papers reported that the ruling LDP’s committees on national defense and security affairs held a joint meeting on Friday and approved a set of policy recommendations on missile defense to be submitted to the Abe administration. Noting that boosting the SDF’s interception capabilities alone would be insufficient to protect the nation from the ballistic missiles of potential adversaries, the panels reportedly called for the possession of “capabilities to forestall ballistic missiles even in an enemy’s territory.” The panels reportedly chose not to use the phrase “capabilities to attack enemy bases” so as not to give the public and Japan’s neighbors the impression that the SDF is prepared to acquire capabilities to carry out preventive strikes.
Asahi wrote that Prime Minister Abe is eager to allow the SDF to possess such capabilities, claiming that if the GOJ adopts the recommendation when it updates the National Security Strategy doctrine in December, it would mark a major turnaround in the nation’s defense posture. The daily added that the LDP’s junior partner Komeito party is not enthusiastic about the proposal.
In a related story, Nikkei wrote that three ideas are currently under discussion within the GOJ on how to defend the nation from enemy missiles following its earlier decision not to introduce Aegis Ashore batteries. The ideas are the construction of a mega-float installed with missile detection radar and interceptors; the procurement of additional Aegis warships; and splitting the Aegis Ashore function by installing ground-based radar and deploying seaborne interceptors. The paper wrote that each proposal has both advantages and disadvantages.