Acquiring a preemptive strike capability would require a high-level political decision
Abe would like to give the JSDF such capability because of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs recent developments.
In 2016 in fact, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and fired 20 or more ballistic missiles.
Nevertheless, despite the threat posed by Pyongyang nuclear arsenal, apprehension about giving such capability to JSDF remains deep-rooted within the nation.
However if North Korea were to simultaneously launch multiple missiles, it would be difficult to shoot them all down under Japan’s current missile defense structure. Given this issue, Abe is considering possessing the ability to strike enemy bases before a missile attack is initiated against his country.
Currently three options are under consideration: a ballistic missile attack, a cruise missile strike and lastly an air raid using F-35 stealth fighters, which Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) will deploy in the near future.
Noteworthy acquiring a preemptive strike capability has been considered by previous governments with no decision reached, because such ability would not be appropriate for the JSDF exclusively defensive nature.
For this reason to acquire this ability a high-level political decision would be necessary.
Photo credit: Japan Air Self Defense Force