Outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday the country will come up with a new plan for dealing with missile threats by the end of the year.

Still, there is no change to the country’s exclusively defense-oriented policy, the prime minister said in a statement released just days before he is to leave office.

The move comes after the government in June scrapped a plan to deploy the land-based, U.S.-developed Aegis Ashore missile defense system to counter threats from North Korea, and began considering an alternative to the costly system.

Abe, who heads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has earlier indicated his willingness to set the policy direction on whether to acquire a strike capability against missile bases in other countries.

But Komeito party, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, has remained skeptical about possessing such a capability, given its controversial nature under the country’s war-renouncing Constitution.

The government started full-fledged discussions in August on ways to counter ballistic missiles after an LDP team called for the “possession of the ability to intercept ballistic missiles and others, even in the territory of an opponent.”

Defense Minister Taro Kono said Wednesday during an online event with the Center for Strategic and International Studies that he and others at the National Security Council are discussing ways to make the country’s deterrence stronger, including considering improving the strike capability with the United States.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.