Saturday’s Nikkei reported that during a policy debate on defense and diplomacy between the four LDP presidential hopefuls held remotely on Friday, former Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Takaichi said she would visit Yasukuni Shrine without fail if she were elected as LDP leader and prime minister. Former Foreign Minister Kishida said he would consider doing so while “taking into account the timing and circumstances.” On the other hand, Administrative Reform Minister Kono and LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Noda said they would not visit the shrine if elected. All candidates said they would ask former Prime Minister Abe to play some sort of role in conducting diplomacy in order to tap his rich expertise in foreign affairs.
During a separate policy debate sponsored by a commercial broadcaster, Kishida and Takaichi said they were in favor of Japan possessing capabilities to strike enemy bases in cooperation and coordination with the United States, while Kono took a negative stance by citing the technical challenges of intercepting enemy missiles at high altitudes. He said the idea of allowing the SDF to develop and possess such capabilities is “off the mark,” adding that it is critical for Japan to enhance deterrence in cooperation with the United States to dissuade enemies from being tempted to launch missiles against Japan in the first place. Noda was similarly cautious by saying “diplomacy is the best defense.”
On a Sunday talk show aired by Fuji TV yesterday, Kono and Takaichi expressed positive views on the possibility of Japan introducing nuclear-powered submarines, while Kishida and Noda were cautious about the idea.