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In a major shift, Japan allows its armed forces to launch attack on enemy soil

Tokyo: Japan has hinted at making decisive changes to its defence policy to curb China’s aggressive and hegemonic activities. The Japanese armed forces, which could target enemy maritime territory and airspace up until now, are now to receive permission to strike the enemy on land as well. President Shinzo Abe has taken the initiative for the move and on Saturday, the country convened its National Security Council. In the past few years, Japanese Prime Minister Abe took crucial decisions for making significant amendments to its defence policy to counter the growing threat from China and North Korea. The changes to the system are said to have received approval as well.  

As per the agreements following World War II, Japan had to renounce its right to wage war. Amendments were made to the Japanese constitution as well to reflect the changes.According to the Japanese constitution, its armed forces only had the right to retaliate if it were attacked or a threat was posed to its security. However, it does not have the right to infiltrate into enemy territory and take action or wage war. Eight years ago, Shizo Abe, who had just taken over the leadership of the country, started making sweeping changes.  

Japan has changed its defence policy and significantly increased its defence spending. The country has even indicated developing new fighter jets, hypersonic missile system as well as destroyers and aircraft carriers. Last month, the ruling party in Japan had also approved the proposal to build a base with Integrated Air and Missile Defence capabilities. The request has the provision to deploy long-range missiles, and the move is meant to enable attacks on bases located on enemy territory.  

Former Japanese Defence chief Katsutoshi Kawano, former Deputy Defence Minister Masahisa Sato, a senior member of the ruling party, Tomomi Inada have all shown support for Abe’s proposal. The lawmaker and official claimed that Japan will be announcing its National Defence Strategy over the next few months and would include the new changes. Sources said that Japan would be able to buy the BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile from the US if the policy changes and would add to the firepower of the Japanese armed forces.   

In the past few months, China has ratcheted up activities in the South China Sea as also the Indo-Pacific. The country intends to take complete control of the South China Sea and the East China Sea given its ambitions of dominance. China is also consistently putting up an aggressive show of strength in the Indo-Pacific region. Furthermore, the Chinese warships, submarines and patrol vessels in the East China Sea near Japan are trying to threaten its sovereignty. In May, China had deployed the aircraft carrier Liaoning and its strike group in the region near the Japanese boundaries. Some incidents were recently reported of the Chinese fighters violating the Japanese airspace. Given the recent events, the possible revision to the Japanese defence policy is considered crucial. 

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