Japan’s New ‘Collective Self-Defense’ Shakes Up Pacific

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives for a press conference at his residence in Tokyo on Monday.

Koji Sasahara/AP

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives for a press conference at his residence in Tokyo on Monday.

Just days after Pyongyang tested allegedly 'new' missiles, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet cleared the way for Japan to come to its allies' aid in the event of an attack. By Global Security Newsire

Japan on Tuesday approved a new defense policy that permits assisting allies, such as in the event of a North Korean missile attack.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a resolution that reinterprets the country’s post-World War II constitution to allow for “collective self-defense,” Reuters reported.

The policy could have direct implications for partner-nation responses to a possible North Korean ballistic missile attack on U.S. military forces. With the ban on collective self-defense lifted, under one scenario Japan could launch its own missile interceptors against a North Korean intermediate-range missile flying towards the U.S. territory of Guam, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The United States and Japan are currently co-developing a next-generation intermediate-range interceptor, the Standard Missile 3 Block 2A, planned for deployment in 2018.

There is no change in the general principle that we cannot send troops overseas,” Abe said in a televised speech about the new policy.

The United States is understood to support Japan taking on a greater regional security role amid concerns about China’s growing military capabilities and North Korea’s continued intransigence over its nuclear weapons program.

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