Japan expands definition of attack to allow SDF to strike enemy bases

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Japan expands definition of attack to allow SDF to strike enemy bases

Itsunori Onodera, center, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's Research CommissionLiberal Democratic Party's Research Commission on Security, speaks to reporters on April 21. Naotaka Fujita A Liberal Democratic Party panel has expanded the definition of attack to allow the Self-Defense Forces to strike enemy bases while maintaining Japan's long-held defensive posture, at least on paper.

The LDP s Research Commission on Security on April 21 approved recommendations that will serve as a starting point in the preparation of a new National Security Strategy by the end of the year.

One of the recommendations was the use of the term counterattack capability to allow the SDF to strike an enemy base that is believed to have started preparing for a missile attack against Japan.

The government will decide whether to use the new SDF function once the situation arises where the enemy has made a clear intent of attacking and has begun taking steps for that move, said Itsunori Onodera, chairman of the commission.

The recommendations called China, Russia and North Korea threats to Japan's security, and said that the development of new missiles, especially by China, has raised fears that Japan can no longer defend itself by intercepting incoming missiles.

The new SDF function was previously proposed as a pre-emptive strike capability. The ruling coalition partner, Komeito, objected to that term, and concerns arose that it could go against Japan's exclusively defensive posture.

Such early SDF strikes would fall in the counterattack category because enemy preparations for a missile launch against Japan would be considered a first attack, according to the recommendations.

In addition to missile attacks, the LDP panel also called for strengthening the ability of the SDF to engage in outer space, cyber and electronic warfare.

The panel recommended that defense spending be increased to at least 2 percent of gross domestic product within five years. If that goal is reached, annual spending would reach about 10 trillion yen $78 billion, which is double the current amount.