Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Sanae Takaichi, a contender in the ruling party’s Sept. 29 presidential election, said Sunday that it is “absolutely necessary” for the United States to deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles in Japan amid the growing security threat from China.

Speaking on a television program, the former internal affairs minister was the sole candidate to back the idea among the four contenders in the LDP race that will effectively determine the country’s next prime minister.

“Deploying intermediate-range missiles is absolutely necessary to protect the lives and territory of the Japanese people,” she said, adding that as prime minister, she would proactively ask the U.S. to deploy the weapons to Japan.