A number of defense and foreign policy experts — including former officials — have backed a controversial plan that would allow Japan to acquire so-called enemy base strike capabilities, government sources have said, though critics are likely to question giving weight to the opinions of pundits who once worked in government.

Among the experts invited by the government to closed-door hearings on the issue were former high-ranking officials who said they believe possessing such capabilities is necessary, sources said Sunday. Details of the hearings, including the minutes, remain undisclosed.

A review into Japan's security, including the politically sensitive issue of possessing such capabilities, comes at a time when China has been ramping up its military activities in waters near Japan, and as North Korea continues to test-fire ballistic missiles.