Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Japan mulls preemptive strike capability

A JSDF uniform
A greater sense of threat, a more hardline government, and a permissive set of circumstances could make this a reality 

Finding itself in an increasingly complex and hostile security environment, Japan has taken the first steps towards developing a pre-emptive first-strike capability. This is a controversial move in a region that remains wary of a potential return to Japanese militarism. 

Just a few years ago, the idea that the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) would be given the ability to conduct operations that go beyond “self defense” would have sounded ludicrous, not to mention that offensive capabilities would have contravened a longstanding interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution. 

But North Korea’s continuing belligerence and pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, as well as China’s growing assertiveness and sovereignty claims, both appear to be changing Tokyo’s calculations. 

My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.

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