Numerous doubts arise.
It has become clear that the government is considering the purchase of the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, a long-range cruise missile made in the U.S. It is considering deployment because of its capability to destroy missile bases in opposing countries.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has publicly stated that he will revise the National Security Strategy, has only explained to the public that he will “realistically consider all options without ruling out any,” including offensive capabilities. He is already making it an established fact.
The Tomahawk, developed in the U.S., has a maximum range of 1,553 miles. Because it is jet-powered and flies at low altitudes, it is difficult to detect and is used for precision strikes on important facilities. The U.S. government has limited the sale of the Tomahawk to certain allies, including the U.K.
The Japanese government has begun upgrading its domestically produced Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile to extend its range to about 621 miles and is planning to convert it into an offensive capability. It is expected to be operational in 2026, and the Japanese government has approached the U.S. government about purchasing the Tomahawk as a “deterrent” in the meantime. They are awaiting a decision from the U.S. government.
The Liberal Democratic Party, which urged the prime minister to introduce an offensive capability, argues that this is within the scope of the policy of “exclusive defense.” If we fail to determine that another country has launched an attack, it would be a preemptive strike prohibited by international law.
The term “exclusive defense” refers to a “countermeasure” in which Japan eliminates enemy forces with minimal force when attacked. The ability to target even the headquarters of an opponent is nothing less than a purely offensive weapon.
The prime minister has been talking about “the public’s understanding” and “wide-ranging discussion” regarding the revision of the National Security Strategy. We can no longer trust him.
In fact, the Kishida administration has already informed the U.S. of its intention to introduce an offensive capability even though the discussions among the ruling parties and the government’s expert panel on defense capability have only just begun. The prime minister himself has promised a substantial increase in defense spending.
Other “considerations” are being carried out as a matter of course, such as relaxing the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology, promoting the Self-Defense Forces’ use of airports and ports during peacetime and increasing the use of civilian vessels for rapid transportation during an emergency.
In line with the revision, it is as if they are trying to remove all restrictions, let alone the principle of exclusive defense.
To what extent is the U.S., in its haste to deter China, pressing Japan to expand its services? If Japan follows and shifts its defense policy from “shield” to “spear,” the arms race with neighboring countries will heat up, and the fear of an emergency will only increase.
The scope of the discussion needs to be broadened. We can’t ignore the perspective of how to prevent emergencies in advance.