Panels in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Friday approved a draft proposal for the government to develop the military capability to “strike enemy bases” in foreign countries.
Considering North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear and missile programs and China’s maritime assertiveness, the LDP also will make proposals for beefing up the nation’s defensive capabilities, including the acquisition of F-35B stealth jets.
The government maintains the position that having what it calls a “strike capability” is possible under war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution if it can be considered self-defense, but this remains a politically sensitive issue, given the contradictory nature of that proposition.
The proposals will be submitted to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also heads the party, within the month and be reflected in the national defense buildup guidelines to be reviewed at the end of the year.
The LDP will also call for securing a “sufficient” defense budget. While falling short of presenting numerical targets, it referred to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s goal of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.