According to a draft plan of the LDP party proposal on security issues, Japan must boost its defense to face "the most critical situation" since the end of World War II, citing North Korean threats and China's consolidation of its maritime position.
The draft project also emphasized the need to improve defense capabilities in space and cyberspace, while calling for an upgrade of the helicopter carrier Izumo so that it can be used as an aircraft carrier.
Former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, who manages an LDP panel discussing security issues, explained the projects to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The government supports the view that having a strike capability is theoretically possible under the war-renouncing constitution if it can be recognized as a measure of self-defense. But whether it can actually maintain the capability remains a politically sensitive issue.
Many lawmakers have frequently called the government's attention to the need of bolstering Japan's defense against ballistic missiles, with North Korea regularly test-firing and developing its ability to conduct surprise raids through the use of mobile launchers.
As a part of the defense boost efforts, on December 19, the Japanese government approved the deployment of US Aegis Ashore missile defense system interceptor in the north and in the southwest of the country. The two facilities are expected to cover the entire country and will each cost Japan about $890 million.