Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Japan Wants Ability to Deter, Respond to Ballistic Missiles

An initial Japanese Defense Ministry review concluded on Friday that its armed forces should be able to "deter and respond to ballistic missiles," Reuters reported.

However, officials said this did not mean they were calling for a "pre-emptive" attack capability, which is a politically loaded term particularly given Japan's past militaristic history.

Under the conservative leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has been gradually moving away from its longstanding pacifist defense posture. The decision to reassess the island nation's security needs comes as North Korea is advancing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and as China has grown increasingly comfortable projecting its military might around the region. 

The Defense Ministry is slated to issue its complete findings from the security review no later than the end of 2013.

At present, Japan has some strike capabilities. Still, in order to be able to neutralize North Korea's road-transportable missiles, it would require more fighter planes and knowledge of the missiles locations. That intelligence would likely have to come from the United States, according to analysts.

Some in Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party have called for acquiring offensive missile systems that could be used to prevent an imminent North Korean missile strike. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, however, said if any such cruise missiles are obtained, they would never be used preemptively, only in retaliation, the New York Times reported.

South Korea on Friday cautioned Japan to focus on maintaining regional peace, Kyodo News reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young told journalists that Seoul hopes "Japan works to maintain stability in this region."

NTI Analysis

  • Ukraine Must Not Become a New Berlin Wall

    March 13, 2014

    On Friday, March 14, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Five statesmen from Germany, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States call for the urgent formation of a Contact Group of Foreign Ministers to address the crisis and more broadly, create a new approach to building mutual security in the Euro-Atlantic region.

  • Cyberwar’s Threat Does Not Justify a New Policy of Nuclear Deterrence

    June 14, 2013

    Steve Andreasen and Richard A. Clarke urge President Obama to minimize the role of nuclear weapons in the national security strategy and maintain distinction between cyber and nuclear attacks.

Country Profile

Flag of Japan

Japan

This article provides an overview of Japan’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →