Tokyo, Japan. After pursuit of a non violent international policy after its defeat in WWII, Japan now finds itself seeking first strike missile technology as it enters a new era of defense priorities.
With tensions over North Korea’s pursuit of missiles carrying nuclear warheads, Japan’s ruling party has stepped up calls to boost the country’s missile defence in what some experts see as a move to gauge reaction from the public and regional powers, about the potential adoption of first strike capability.
US Commander of the Pacific Fleet Admiral Scott Swift, said on Thursday he would not be surprised to see discussion on strike capability progressing in Japan, given the rising threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons development, including another ballistic missile launch Wednesday.
Another contrasting view was offered, “The US welcomes and wants Japan to have the ability to defend itself and to be able to contribute more to regional attempts to counter the missile threat posed by North Korea,” said Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Pacific Forum Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
“But THAAD and strike are very different options. One is purely defensive and the other is offensive defence,” Glosserman added, “increase the chances of escalation in a crisis and the US is not the one with its finger on the button, meaning we have less control over the situation”, he said.
The Japanese Liberal Democratic Party has proposed introducing an advanced US missile defence system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, and other latest military assets in the country, as well as acquiring the ability to strike back at North Korea, such as with cruise missiles.