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.

On whether Japan is allowed under the Constitution to attack enemy bases, the government follows the position that Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama's administration stated to the Diet in 1956: Even under the war-renouncing Constitution, it is possible for Japan to attack enemy installations under certain limits to forestall a deadly attack like a ballistic missile attack if there is a clear and present danger that Japan would face such an attack and when there are no other means to protect the country from this danger.