The Japanese government is expected to weigh whether to change its military policy to permit the launching of pre-emptive strikes to counter a looming assault by hostile forces, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Since the end of World War II, Tokyo has adhered to a pacifist defense policy that does not allow offensive military actions. However, the growing threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and China's increasing willingness to assert its territorial claims over contested islets in the East China Sea encouraged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's hawkish government to direct its Defense Ministry to reassess the nation's national security policies. An initial review of those policies is expected to be issued as early as Friday.
Japan's Self Defense Forces are relatively well funded and have some of the strongest military capabilities in the region.
The Defense Ministry in its interim review is anticipated to call for "the need to boost a comprehensive capability of containment" in accordance with efforts to protect the island nation from North Korea's ballistic missiles, Agence France-Presse reported.