FILE PHOTO: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during his press conference, after the parliament re-elected him as prime minister following an election victory last month by his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in Kantei, Japan November 10, 2021. Stanislav Kogiku/ Pool via REUTERS
December 6, 2021
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will fundamentally strengthen its defence posture by looking into options including acquiring the capability to strike enemy bases, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday, as Tokyo faces an assertive China and unpredictable North Korea.
As a step to boost Japan’s defence capacity, three main documents laying out the nation’s security policy – the National Security Strategy, National Defence Programme Guidelines and Medium-Term Defence Programme – will be renewed in a year, he said.
“In order to safeguard the people’s lives and livelihood, we’ll examine all the options including capability to attack enemy bases … and strengthen our defence posture fundamentally with a sense of speed,” Kishida said in a policy speech.
Such capability would mark a shift in Japan’s military posture as Tokyo, constrained by its post-World War II pacifist constitution, is to play a role of the shield in its security alliance with the United States, while Washington is to play a role of the spear.
On Japan’s coronavirus response, Kishida said he planned to make it possible to get a booster shot without waiting for the end of the current waiting period, set by the government, of eight months after the second shot.
Calls for early booster shots have been mounting in Japan as the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading globally, although daily COVID-19 cases have remained low in recent weeks.
If infections start picking up pace again, the government will respond swiftly with such measures as stricter restrictions on activities, “while seeking the people’s understanding carefully,” Kishida said.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
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