July 25, 2013
Japan is likely to start considering acquiring the ability to launch pre-emptive military strikes in a planned update of its basic defense policies, the latest step away from the constraints of its pacifist constitution.
The expected proposal, which could sound alarm bells in China, is part of a review of Japan’s defense policies undertaken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, an interim report on which could come as early as Friday. The final conclusions of the review are due out by the end of the year.
The hawkish Abe took office in December for a rare second term, pledging to bolster the military to cope with what Japan sees as an increasingly threatening security environment including an assertive China and unpredictable North Korea.