In the heat of media frenzy over the unsurprising LDP presidential election last week, a National Security Council meeting was held on Sept. 11 with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Defense Minister Taro Kono in attendance.

After the meeting, Abe issued a prime minister’s statement, probably the last of its kind, just five days before the end of his premiership. The document stated that Tokyo is contemplating setting a new direction for the national security policy to cope with missiles targeting Japan.

Initial reports from Tokyo were more critical than cordial. Some wrote that the statement, which suggests “the possibility of Japan acquiring a strike capacity, even if couched in terms of deterrence and defense,” is controversial “given the country's pacifist Constitution, which limits its military capabilities.”