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Japan ruling party proposes strike capability to halt enemy missile attacks

The proposals, crafted by senior Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers including former defense minister Itsunori Onodera, will be presented to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as early as next week.

“It is an urgent that we form a team to discuss, and deliver our party’s thought to the government,” said Onodera at his opening remarks of the meeting.

Giving long range munitions to Japan’s Self Defence Forces is a controversial issue for a country that renounced the right to wage war after its defeat in World War Two. The proposal could also anger China and Russia, which could fall within range of any new strike weapons.

The ruling party deliberations were prompted by defense minister Kono Taro’s decision in June to cancel two planned Aegis Ashore sites designed to track and target incoming ballistic missiles from North Korea, citing a risk posed to nearby residents from falling booster rockets and rising costs. The LDP document included a recommendation that Japan consider how to acquire a defense radar system on a par with Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ashore system that could also track other threats such as drones and cruise missiles.

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