[Ed. – Inevitable.]
Japan and the United States are exploring the possibility of Tokyo acquiring offensive weapons that would allow Japan to project power far beyond its borders, Japanese officials said, a move that would likely infuriate China.
While Japan’s intensifying rivalry with China dominates the headlines, Tokyo’s focus would be the ability to take out North Korean missile bases, said three Japanese officials involved in the process. …
The talks on what Japan regards as a “strike capability” are preliminary and do not cover specific hardware at this stage, the Japanese officials told Reuters.
Defense experts say an offensive capability would require a change in Japan’s purely defensive military doctrine, which could open the door to billions of dollars worth of offensive missile systems and other hardware. These could take various forms, such as submarine-fired cruise missiles similar to the U.S. Tomahawk.
U.S. officials said there were no formal discussions on the matter but did not rule out the possibility that informal contacts on the issue had taken place. One U.S. official said Japan had approached American officials informally last year about the matter. …
The Japanese officials said their U.S. counterparts were cautious to the idea, partly because it could outrage China, which accuses Abe of reviving wartime militarism.