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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s research commission on security issues in late March handed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a proposal that Japan consider developing the ability to strike enemy missile bases. In receiving the proposal — a response to North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches — Abe said that he would like to “firmly take the proposal to heart.”

In the first place, obtaining such capabilities would not be easy, both in terms of equipment and expense. More importantly, an attempt by Japan to build up the capability to attack enemy bases could result in destabilizing the region’s security environment by giving an imagined enemy an excuse to carry out pre-emptive strikes on our country. The Abe administration needs to carefully weigh the implications of Japan taking such steps.

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