Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera speaks to reporters in Tokyo on February 5, 2013.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera says Tokyo is “allowed under the law” to develop the ability to launch a preemptive strike against an impending attack.
“When an intention to attack Japan is evident, the threat is imminent, and there are no other options, Japan is allowed under the law to carry out strikes against enemy targets,” Onodera said on Thursday.
The Japanese minister, however, stated that given Japan’s political environment as well as the peace-oriented diplomacy that the country observes, “This is not the time to make preparations (for building such capability).”
The comments came two days after North Korea carried out its latest nuclear test, which drew condemnation from several countries including Japan, South Korea and the United States.
On February 12, North Korea announced that it had successfully carried out its third underground nuclear test, which involved “miniaturized” device and was conducted in a “perfect manner.”
The UN Security Council said in a statement on February 12, “There continues to exist a clear threat to international peace and security.” Members of the Council would “begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a Security Council resolution,” the statement added.
Highlighting Japan’s need to reinforce its ballistic missile defense in response to what he called a ‘North Korean threat,’ Onodera added that Pyongyang is expected to “boost various capabilities further.”
“We need to improve corresponding capabilities as well,” the Japanese defense minister stated.