TOKYO --- Months before he announced his resignation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set in motion a policy change that could for the first time allow Japan’s military to plan for strikes on land targets in China and other parts of Asia.
Japan’s Self Defence Forces are geared toward stopping attackers in the air and the sea. The policy change would direct the military to create a doctrine for targeting enemy sites on land - a mission that would require the purchase of long-range weapons such as cruise missiles.
If adopted by the next government, the policy would mark one of the most significant shifts in Japan’s military stance since the end of World War Two. It reflects Abe’s longstanding push for a more robust military and Tokyo’s deepening concern about Chinese influence in the region.
The Japanese government is worried by China’s increased military activity around disputed East China Sea islets.
“The main reason for our action is China. We haven’t really emphasised that too much, but the security choices we make are because of China,” Masahisa Sato, a lawmaker from Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party who has served as a deputy defence minister and a deputy foreign minister, said in an interview. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.