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Exclusive: Japan to revise National Security Strategy at end-2022

  • November 7, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 12;15 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Nov. 7 (Jiji Press)–Japan is considering revising its National Security Strategy, which presents medium- to long-term guidelines for national security and foreign policies, at the end of 2022, Jiji Press has learned.

The revised strategy will call for enhancing economic security amid China’s increasing assertiveness, according to government sources.

The focus is whether the proposed acquisition of capabilities to strike enemy bases will be included in the new document.

The strategy, intended to cover a period of around 10 years, will be revised for the first time since it was released in December 2013 by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s second administration. The strategy replaced the basic policy of national defense decided in 1957 by the administration of former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s grandfather.

The government will also review its National Defense Program Guidelines, which show defense buildup targets, and Medium-Term Defense Program, detailing buildup plans over the next five years.

The security situation surrounding Japan has deteriorated more than was expected in 2013, with China increasingly showing hegemonic behavior, the sources said.

Last month, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a policy speech before the Diet, the country’s parliament, that the government will revise the strategy and the two defense buildup papers.

At a meeting of the National Security Council later, Kishida gave instructions to start work toward the revisions studying all options including the proposed acquisition of capabilities to strike enemy bases.

The revisions will be made after next summer’s election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, as Komeito, the partner of Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party in the ruling coalition, is cautious about strengthening Japanese defense capabilities.

“It would be difficult (to make the revisions) before the election,” said a senior official at the prime minister’s office.

The government expects to make a cabinet decision on the revised documents after collecting opinions from experts in national security and other fields, sources said.

Ahead of the move, the government will submit legislation on economic security at the next ordinary Diet session starting in January 2022, the sources added.

Enhancing economic security is a key policy of Kishida’s administration, launched last month.

 The importance of securing strategic goods and preventing outflows of advanced technologies has been highlighted by the novel coronavirus pandemic and the intensifying tensions between the United States and China.

But the current National Security Strategy does not present clear principles on such issues. Calls for revising the strategy are therefore increasing in the LDP.

Some people say that Japan should acquire the enemy base attack capabilities swiftly to strengthen deterrence, given progress in the development of sophisticated missiles by China and North Korea that are difficult to intercept with the current missile defense systems.

The new strategy is also expected to call for stronger cooperation with the United States, Australia and India under the Quad framework and with European countries including Britain and France.

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