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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party began preparations Tuesday to establish a team to consider the possibility of the nation possessing the capability to attack enemy bases.

The move comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a news conference on Thursday last week that he wants to have discussions on the country’s national security policy, including the possession of such capabilities as a possibility, following suspension of the plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system.

The team will comprise former defense ministers, such as Itsunori Onodera, who is now chairman of the LDP Research Commission on National Security and is an advocate for the possession of strike capabilities. It is expected to compile a proposal on the matter by this summer. The ruling party has repeatedly urged the government to consider the possession of attack capabilities against enemy bases.

Meanwhile, Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the LDP’s coalition partner Komeito, demonstrated a cautious stance on the plan. “We hope discussions on the matter will be held cautiously based on the long-standing view of the government,” Yamaguchi said at a news conference the same day.

“The Japanese government has consistently taken the stance that Japan is permitted under the Constitution to possess the capabilities to attack enemy bases, but will not adopt a policy decision to possess them in practice,” he said.

“We need to put more efforts into diplomatic measures to prevent military attacks,” Yamaguchi added.

“We’d like to discuss the matter thoroughly while taking into account various discussions in the ruling parties and other factors,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference Tuesday.

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