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Interview: Ex-Japan official cautious about enemy base attack capability

  • August 18, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 4:20 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Aug. 18 (Jiji Press)–A former senior Japanese government official has sounded cautious about the country potentially possessing the capability to attack enemy bases.


On top of political hurdles to obtain such a capability, exercising it would be difficult in terms of military maneuvering, Kyoji Yanagisawa, former assistant chief cabinet secretary, said in an interview.


Discussions on whether Japan should obtain the capability have intensified after the government recently decided to scrap its plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system due to a technical problem.


Possessing the capability would be “far more difficult than introducing Aegis Ashore,” and its costs would be “astronomical,” Yanagisawa, a defense expert, said, noting that he feels a sense of alarm about the government being quick to initiate such discussions.


He said: “You’d need to know where to attack and beat the enemy’s air defense network and be able to assess how much damage was dealt. If that weren’t enough, a second attack would be needed, and that would be more likely to trigger a counterattack than using interceptor missiles.”


Yanagisawa said an enemy base attack capability would go beyond Japan’s defense-only policy, which he says is intended to give no excuses for enemies to attack.


In fact, Japan has already gone beyond the idea of defense-only policy through its military cooperation with the United States, he said.


“Japan’s government needs to think about how the country can contribute to preventing U.S.-China and U.S.-North Korea wars and how to ease the tensions,” Yanagisawa said. Seeking to possess the capability to attack enemy bases without making these efforts is a debate that has abandoned the primary roles of politics, he stressed.


Japan should act as a bridge between the United States and China in facilitating dialogue to ease bilateral tensions, but “nobody is thinking about that,” Yanagisawa said.



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