The government stated in a formal setting that it wanted to have the capability to attack an enemy base preparing to launch an attack on Japan, and for the first time in a formal setting.
The explanation was given at a Nov. 25 meeting of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner Komeito during the discussion on revisions to three key documents related to defense matters, including the National Security Strategy. The revisions are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Government officials said the envisaged attack capability would be put in place at the minimum level required, but provided few specifics.
The LDP and the pacifist leaning Komeito are expected to reach an agreement on the matter as early as next week, which will be incorporated into the three defense documents.
According to those who attended the Nov. 25 meeting, the government officials cited missile development efforts by neighboring nations for its decision to upgrade the nation's defense posture.
There is a possibility that there is a possibility of difficulties in intercepting ballistic missiles under current missile defense systems, according to one official.
There was no open opposition to such an approach, although some of those present pointed to international law which prohibits a first strike. They insisted that there had to be a clear definition of when an enemy nation has begun preparations to launch an attack to determine the timing for Japan to act.
The Diet would be involved in the process, and the lawmakers from the ruling coalition will be involved in the process, and how to refer to the new policy, as well as the possible range of targets for the new capability.
Keiichi Ishii, the secretary-general of Komeito, expressed a positive stance toward the new capability during a Nov. 25 news conference, explaining that it would serve as a deterrent to other nations contemplating an attack against Japan.