Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday held the first meeting of its new study team to consider whether the country should obtain the capability to attack enemy bases.
The team, set up under the Research Commission on National Security, was created after the government scrapped its plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system.
The team will discuss alternatives to the Aegis Ashore plan, including enemy base strike capability, and draw up a proposal by the end of July.
The team is led by former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and comprises mainly former defense ministers, including former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba and Gen Nakatani, a lawmaker of the House of Representatives.
At Tuesday’s meeting, team members were briefed on the state of North Korean missile development by the Defense Ministry.
They agreed to consider new forms of missile defense in response to North Korean experiments of missiles that fly in anomalous trajectories and the development of hypersonic weapons by China and Russia.
“We want to conclude our discussions in July,” Onodera told reporters after the meeting. The team will hear from experts at the next meeting.
The focus of the discussions is expected to be whether Japan should hold the capability to strike enemy bases to destroy launch facilities for missiles aimed at Japan.
In 2017, the LDP proposed that the government consider acquiring such a capability. The new team is expected to make a similar proposal.
“Neighboring countries have long-range missiles, and our country is within their range,” Nakatani told reporters after the meeting. “It’s important to have the capability to attack enemy bases as a deterrent.”
“Another option is to have Tomahawk (cruise missiles),” he added.