Saturday’s Asahi front-paged the disclosure by multiple GOJ sources that Prime Minister Abe has decided to release a statement on missile defense soon. The statement is likely to say that the GOJ will conclude by year end its discussions on Japan’s capabilities to intercept enemy missiles, including whether or not to allow the SDF to possess the capability to strike enemy bases and what kind of equipment the Defense Ministry will acquire as an alternative to the aborted Aegis Ashore deployment. According to the daily, National Security Secretariat Secretary General Kitamura spoke by phone with National Security Advisor O’Brien on Friday and explained that Tokyo will formulate a new policy on missile defense by the end of this year. According to one of the sources, the GOJ is still noncommittal on the idea of the SDF possessing the capability to attack enemy bases.
Yomiuri and Sankei ran similar stories on Sunday, noting that since the statement will not require cabinet approval, it will merely encourage the next administration to promote discussions on missile defense with the goal of reaching a conclusion by year’s end. Sankei projected that the updating of the National Security Strategy planned for December will probably be postponed until next year, adding that Abe’s statement will not mention the ruling LDP’s call for the SDF to acquire “the capability to intercept ballistic missiles in enemy territory.”