|Prime Minister Shinzo Abe|
HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday that he has "no plan" to consider granting the Japanese Self-Defense Forces the ability to strike overseas targets to deal with North Korean ballistic missiles.
The prime minister also said Japan's defense program guidelines need to be reviewed to reflect North Korea's development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and other changes in the security environment.
Abe's remark on the SDF acquiring the capability to strike overseas targets came after his newly appointed Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Friday the government "should consider" the option, in an idea suggested in the context of knocking out North Korean ballistic missile launch sites.
"We are relying on the United States for strike ability within the Japan-U.S. division of roles," Abe told a press conference in Hiroshima. "I have no plan to specifically consider (the issue) at this time."
Abe has instructed Onodera, following a Cabinet reshuffle last week, to re-examine Japan's defense program guidelines, which were approved by the Cabinet in December 2013. The guidelines have set targets for the defense capabilities Japan should achieve over the decade through 2023.
Read the full story at The Mainichi