Japanese officials are considering breaking a 75-year-long vow of pacifism as both North Korea and China flex their military muscles in the region.
The country’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly opened discussions within his administration about acquiring missiles capable of hitting military targets – should they learn of an imminent attack.
While at first it appears to be a move reasonable for most nations, Japan has been forced to maintain only a self-defence military force since the end of World War 2.
After Japan’s brutal campaign in the Pacific was brought to an end following the use of two atomic bombs in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the country was forced to disband its army in a surrender agreement and later treaty.
But tensions between North Korea, China and its neighbours in East Asia has reopened the debate in Japan about having active missile sites.
North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un ramped up hostilities with its rival to the south by blowing up the liaison office used for talks.
Meanwhile, Chinese soldiers engaged in border hostilities with India where several soldiers were killed and has drawn widespread condemnation for its barbaric treatment of the Uyghur minority as well as its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
But the issue is still controversial in Japan and even the country’s defence minister Taro Kono spoke evasively about the proposal.
He said” “Logically speaking, I won’t say it’s a 0% chance. The government hasn’t really decided anything yet.”
Explaining the potential high stakes, Narushige Mischishita the director of the Security and International Studies Programme at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo said: “In a Japanese context, it can be scandalous.
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“People get freaked out when people start speaking about ‘strikes’.”
While Japan has dismissed having a US-style missile system, it does want capabilities to “send a clear message to North Korea".
Mr Kono added: “It is our resolve about protecting Japan against any missile offensive.”
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