12:35 GMT +324 October 2017
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    Members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force conduct small arms weapons training aboard U.S. Navy's amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu.

    Japan to Mull Procuring Offensive Arms for First Time Since WWII

    © AP Photo/ .S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Russell
    Asia & Pacific
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    Japan’s Defense Ministry will decide by next summer whether it needs to stock offensive weapons, in what may be the first such decision since the end of World War Two, local media said Saturday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — A group of lawmakers led by the recently-appointed Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera proposed in March that the Self-Defense Forces should have the ability to preemptively strike enemy bases after a string of North Korea’s rocket tests.

    The Defense Ministry’s decision on whether to acquire arms with a long enough range to strike overseas territories will be enshrined in military policy guidelines that will become part of the next five-year defense program, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

    Japan has avoided stockpiling cruise missiles and other strategic offensive weapons and has instead relied on the United States for protection. But Japan’s then Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama said in 1956 the nation was not obliged to calmly await its destruction in case of an attack.

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    Tags:
    arms, Itsunori Onodera, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Japan
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