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Japanese PM keen to up capacity to strike ‘enemy missile bases’

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The Defense Ministry. KYODO

Japanese PM keen to up capacity to strike ‘enemy missile bases’

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he would consider specifying the possession of capabilities to destroy “enemy missile bases” in the National Security Strategy in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun on October 15.

Kishida also said he hopes to visit the US by the end of this year for a summit with President Joe Biden.

Specifying in the security strategy the capability to strike enemy bases for self-defence purposes was “one option”, according to the prime minister.

“Missile capabilities are becoming more sophisticated every day,” Kishida said, regarding threats such as hypersonic glide weapons and ballistic missiles flying on irregular trajectories that North Korea is developing.

“To protect the lives and livelihoods of the people, considering all realistic options is an important stance,” he said.

Regarding when the government would aim to revise the National Security Strategy, Kishida said “I want to do it as soon as possible”, but stopped short of mentioning a specific timeline.

In 2020, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the government would consider acquiring the capability to strike enemy bases, as countries such as North Korea had made progress in developing new missiles that are difficult to intercept.

The possession of such capabilities is aimed at strengthening Japan’s deterrence.

However, Abe’s successor Yoshihide Suga, who took office in September of the same year, shelved discussions on the issue.

Regarding hopes for a Japan-US summit, Kishida said: “I want to meet with Mr Biden as soon as possible. I want to aim for that to happen by the end of this year at the earliest.”

As for the enactment of a law to promote economic security, which the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has included in its pledges for the upcoming House of Representatives election, Kishida clearly stated: “I will aim to submit the legislation to the ordinary Diet session next year.”

He indicated that the legislation would stipulate a system to strengthen supply chains of semiconductors and other products through measures including subsidies to attract companies to Japan.

“It is crucial to make efforts to establish a complete supply chain within Japan,” Kishida said.

During the interview, he also expressed an intention to provide support to non-regular workers and others as part of measures against the novel coronavirus.

“We’ll provide cash to those in need as quickly as possible,” Kishida said. “Of course, the amount of money is also important, but speed is important considering the lessons learned from last year.”

THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN (JAPAN)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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