In a move prompted by recent events, politicians in Japan have instituted legislation to alter the country’s constitution to enable it to not only defend itself against hostile actions — such as the missiles launched in its direction by North Korea three weeks ago — but to also initiate military actions against a perceived threat, which the island nation believes North Korea has become. In fact, a group of influential politicians have gone public with their argument that Japan should acquire the ability and capability of being able to attack North Korea without having to rely militarily — as it does now and has since World War II — on the United States.
The political movement raised its collective voice just three weeks after North Korea launched four missiles from military units charged with hitting U.S. military bases in Japan (should war break out), according to state-operated KCNA. CNN reported that three of the missiles landed within 200 miles of Japan’s coastline.
“Japan can’t just wait until it’s destroyed,” Hiroshi Imazu, head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s security committee and a proponent of the idea for more military self-determination, said in an interview with The Washington Post.
“It’s legally possible for Japan to strike an enemy base that’s launching a missile at us, but we don’t have the equipment or the capability.”
Former defense minister Gen Nakatani, who is also a member of the committee, is in agreement with Imazu. “I believe that we should consider having the capacity to strike,” he told The Post.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also publicly supports the idea of acquiring the capacity to strike.
Imazu contends that Japan should at least have the capacity for reciprocity, given the current state of mutual defense coordination and military alignments.
“Our country is protected by other countries, but we can’t do anything to protect them,” Imazu asserts.
“This is not acceptable in the international community anymore. We cooperate with the U.S. and other nations to protect our country and also to contribute to peace in East Asia. In this environment, it’s only proper that we should discuss how we could protect our country.”
Under the current laws of Japan, framed by a constitution that has been in place since the end of World War II, it is illegal for the country to initiate hostilities. Imazu, Nakatani, and company want the laws changed so that Japan can, if necessary, launch a preemptive military strike.
“We know that North Korea’s missile capability has improved considerably,” said Itsunori Onodera, another former defense minister in the Abe administration and the chairman of an LDP committee.
“Right now, we are discussing how we can make sure to prevent them.”
Onodera’s concerns center around the latest North Korean missile launch, which he noted were designed in such a manner as to confuse missile defense systems.
“In that case, we would come under attack one missile after another unless we strike the enemy base and stop them,” he said.
“So the discussion is around the need to neutralize the missile launch base.”
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with dignitaries of Japan, South Korea, and China. While in Japan, he stated that the U.S. would handle North Korea differently than had been done during the Obama administration. As was reported by the Inquisitr, Tillerson said that with the Trump administration’s “new approach” all options were being considered in future dealings with Pyongyang, and he declined to eliminate the possibility of a preemptive military strike against the rogue regime.
An”all options” approach could also extend to allowing Japan some autonomy with regard to its military. Candidate Trump told the New York Times during the 2016 presidential campaign that the defense alignment with Asian countries like Japan and South Korea might have to be restructured where the countries would be more responsible for their own defense, perhaps even going so far as to acquire their own nuclear arsenals.
Still, any changes to the Japanese constitution would occur only following extensive consultation with the United States, Nakatani said. “Japan doesn’t have the capacity to launch an attack on North Korea by ourselves,” he went on.
“In order for Japan to do that, it would take a lot of discussion with the U.S.”
Onodera said the committee could make a proposal for changes to Japan’s laws very soon.
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