TOKYO—Japan’s Defense Minister Tomomi Inada on Thursday suggested that it may be legally possible for Japanese troops to acquire the capability to conduct preemptive strikes against enemy bases.
Inada made the remarks in a House of Representatives Committee meeting on security with regards to a question on how Japanese troops deal with launches of ballistic missiles against it from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Inada said that in line with Japanese and international law, Japan would “consider various measures”, although added that the government was not currently considering giving its forces the capability of making such preemptive strikes.
Inada did say, however, that giving Japanese troops the capability and conducting such preemptive strikes is “legally possible.”
Under Article 9 of the Constitution, Japan is not allowed to maintain any means of land, sea, or air war potential or use war as a means of settling international disputes. Japan’s Constitution also decrees that the Japanese people forever renounce war.
Thursday’s discussions come on the heels of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) launching four missiles toward the Sea of Japan on Monday, with three of them thought to have fallen within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for his part, has been looking into acquiring enemy base strike camps, stating in a Diet Committee meeting on Jan. 26 that Japan should consider becoming more independent in terms of its own military defense.
A study group from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) led by Abe is looking into the feasibility of acquiring this capability.
Separately, the lower house on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution protesting the DPRK’s latest missile launch.
The resolution says the launch represents a new stage of threat and is a clear provocation against the international community.
Japan lodges a strong protest and condemns the launch in the strongest terms, the resolution says.