Japanese defense panel recommends developing counterstrike capabilities

Tokyo, Nov 22 (EFE).- A government panel of experts recommended Tuesday that Japan equip itself with “counterstrike capabilities” against the increasingly hostile security situation, in a report that will be considered while developing the National Security Strategy (NSS).

The report was prepared by a group of experts led by former Japanese ambassador to the United States, Kenichiro Sasae, with the aim of identifying Japan’s priorities in order to improve its defense policy against North Korea’s weapon development or China’s military growth.

The document recommends increasing the defense budget and financing additional costs through an array of taxes, in line with the agenda of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

After receiving the report, Kishida said in a cabinet meeting that Japan’s security environment is getting more difficult by the day, and strengthening its defense capabilities is one of the joint missions of the government and opposition for protecting Japan.

Among the concrete measures suggested by the panel for reinforcing national military capabilities, the recommendation about “counterstrike capabilities” stands out. According to the report, this includes providing weapon systems capable of breaching the enemy’s important bases or command centers in case of aggression.

This concept must now be discussed by the government for its inclusion in the new NSS, the defense roadmap for the next few years which is expected to be approved in December.

The proposal has sparked debate in Japan owing to a possible extended interpretation that the concept of “counterstrike” could be in conflict with Japan’s pacifist constitution, which rejects war as a way to solve international conflicts.

In August, Kishida approved a defense budget for the next year which includes a record level of expenditure and purchase of new weapons systems.

Long-range and hypersonic missiles, weapons that can target objects at a large distance, and fit in the new counterstrike capability agenda are part of the new weaponry.

The budget for financial year 2023 beginning in March, is pending final approval from the national parliament and is 7.5 per cent higher compared to the previous year, in addition to an unspecified allotment for developing military capabilities over the next five years that is set to increase the final expenditure significantly. EFE


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