politics

As N Korean missile threat grows, Japanese lawmakers argue for first strike options

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By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo

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69 Comments
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I'm not for the first strike option, for history's sake and so Kim couldn't say "I told you so". But if NK takes a real offensive action against Japan, then the retaliation should be swift and overwhelming.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

These lawmakers are walking in lock-step with Abe and will rile the people up into accepting any changes to the constitution. NK is playing right into Abe's hands here.

Here's to hoping cooler heads prevail.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Morons. Not even the U.S. could launch a withering enough first strike to assure that N. Korea's C&C were destroyed as well as all the thousands of rockets, missiles and artillery pieces aimed at Japan and S. Korea.

sensei258MAR. 09, 2017 - 06:53AM JST I'm not for the first strike option, for history's sake and so Kim couldn't say "I told you so". But if NK takes a real offensive action against Japan, then the retaliation should be swift and overwhelming.

Every major city in Japan and, likely, S. Korea would be in flames before Japan could mount a retaliatory strike. In any case, most of the response would be from the U.S. Air Force and Navy as Japan does not possess anything close to "overwhelming" force.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Terrorism is the poor man's war. War is the rich man's terrorism - Peter Ustinov.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I don't think that the first launch is a good idea. I may be very bias due to the fact that I'm a pacifist but the prospect of this strike is still self destructive and it won't help anyone out. Japan isn't in the place to start a war and neither are their allies - this could be very disastrous if Japan decides to give North Korea a real reason to live up to all the threats they've been spewing since there founding.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un must be well aware that his military is no match in a war against U.S. military power. Would he dare launch Rodong and Scud-C missiles against Japan, or Taepodong-3 missiles against the United States, knowing that such an action would mean the annhilation of his regime and the country?

Do North Korea's simultaneous firings on March 6 of four missiles as simulation of saturation attacks mean that Kim Jong-un is preparing to attack Japan and the U.S. in the near future, oblivious of the fact that it would mean the annhilation of his regime and the country?

Sources reveal that such missiles defense systems as PAC-3 and THAAD cannot match against saturation attacks. So, maybe, the North Korean threat has entered a new stage as P.M Abe says. But then it's time to rethink the U.S. military realignment in Japan in which the Futenma-to-Henoko relocation plan takes center stage. The whole project has now turned out as a sheer nonsense.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I really didn't think Japan was so so so so so so X 100 stupid.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

The road to self destruction is wide & foolish & full of sorrow throughout history. Japanese ruling politicians after 70 years of peace is taking the pacifist peace for granted and steadily abandoning it to embrace war. Its a tragic show unfolding.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

The most ridiculous thing is how no one is talking about the school scandal anymore. For the love of nuts, isn't it rather suspicious that just as the coals were being heated up beneath abes behind, NK goes and lobs missiles therefore creating a new narrative? This script has been acted out so many times in the course of our history. Now watch as the media and opposition cowers in the darkness. Afraid to question the good leader lest they come off as 'unpatriotic' what a collosal shame!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First-strike? The SDF does stand for "Self-Defense Force," right? That means that Japan needs to defend itself if it's first attacked. And if Japan is attacked first, it needs to strike back twice as hard.

Japan needs a strong military. Not for offensive purposes, but because it's surrounded by geopolitical superpowers like China and Russia. Even North Korea has what... The 4th largest army in the world? It needs to invest in a larger army, navy, air force, and cyber warfare.

The world keeps evolving, and Japan needs to keep up. Shouldn't they have Gundams by now?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

“If bombers attacked us or warships bombarded us, we would fire back. Striking a country lobbing missiles at us is no different,”

Correct. The best defense is an offensive. And the capability alone will serve as a deterrence. At present NK continues it's behavior knowing Japan can not touch them.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Japan will add this to their arsenal. I would not be surprised to see Japan majorly arm up in the next 10 years.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I really didn't think Japan was so so so so so so X 100 stupid.

No, but you should know that the LDP is.

This is stupid. a precision strike to take out Buta Kim is the way to go. Someone needs to snuff out the leader. But starting a war because you don't like one guy is as dumb as it was in 2003.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Japanese "defense forces" taking a first strike? First, that's not defense, although Japan shouldn't even have a military but for its loose interpretations of everything. Second, Japan having first strike capabilities would be scary; the number of times the government bodies with power have falsely announced rockets launchers would have these jittery folks pushing the button over nothing.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

The road to self destruction is wide & foolish & full of sorrow throughout history. Japanese ruling politicians after 70 years of peace is taking the pacifist peace for granted and steadily abandoning it to embrace war. Its a tragic show unfolding.

Exactly. This has less to do with NK and more to do with JP showing its true colors again. NK is just a smoke screen used by Nippon Kaigi. Don't you think that NK is a small-fry compared to the current JP and U.S. miltary systems combined?.

One's a fool to think that JP became a pacifistic nation after WWII of its own volition. Just look all through JP history (particularly since JP attained European military technology); war, bullying, conquest and occupation to satisfy the ever growing economy that knows no bounds - all dressed in a 'helpful' and 'left with no choice' disguise. History is slowly but surely repeating. I've been right about these types of things before, and I'm sure we'll be seeing the 20th century 2.0 before too many more years pass. The world is playing right into it.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

FernGully,

The SDF does stand for "Self-Defense Force," right?

Words. The US military is under the control/supervised/coordinated by the Defense department. But even the US military doesn't engage in first strikes - that's what the CIA is for. Slip in, destroy the target, slip out. Secretly. As the Israeli Self-Defence Force (IDF) did with Iraqi nuclear reactors in 1981. (And probably several people since then.)

However, the IDF cares not a hoot for world public opinion. Abe does. A lot. While being applauded for taking out Kim et al, he will also be known as the person who started the war (no more victimhood for Japan) and...HOW will China retaliate? Militarily? Economically? Either way, Japan loses.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In war there are no winners. If they want to do the first strike so badly why dont the guys from Kasumigaseki go to the frontlines for a change.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I agree with most. The first strike option is not good. Also, South Korea, who would get most of the retaliation should be at the table if this is even talked about.

This is not as simple as everyone makes it out to be however. I think at some point some kind of action MIGHT become necessary unless people want to wait until North Korea makes their first strike with a nuclear weapon or even chemical weapons (as we now know they have VX nerve agent).

In the end however I think this is not Japan's decision alone

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Agent X & Papi - you're both right on the money.

"War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty. A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth."

— Carl von Clausewitz

Do we the ordinary citizens of the world have to once go again become the "collateral damage" of the whims & wants of a war-mongering few.

Where's the rage people?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

But starting a war because you don't like one guy is as dumb as it was in 2003.

Even that one was less to do with WMD's and a dictator as it was about... other things. Like I said at the time, the whole region saw more peace with Saddam than it ever would after... 'intervention'. It was nothing to do with intervention or liberation of people. But everyone jumped on the 'We're in imminent danger, and need to pre-emptively strike' puke wagon. Fast forward a decade, and suddenly the Chilcot report confirms what I had been saying all along (often to the scorn of others).

Japan wanting to militarize has very little to do with the 'threat' of NK.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

YES, YES. Sweden's bringing back conscription, and so should Japan! Get those lazy otaku away from their World of Warcraft and get them fighting in a real war. They should be able to overtake NK's million-man army.

Seriously, NK is behaving like a spoiled brat because they want concessions, money, etc. They do this every few years just to stir the pot. I don't know what the panic is over.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It was nothing to do with intervention or liberation of people. But everyone jumped on the 'We're in imminent danger, and need to pre-emptively strike' puke wagon. Fast forward a decade, and suddenly the Chilcot report confirms what I had been saying all along (often to the scorn of others).

exactly. on the money

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Capture NK! Make Japan new boss of Asia again! :D

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

"... but without a deterrence North Korea will see us as weak.”

Exactly. Japan need be a Super Power again...in it's own right, and not depend on the U.S. for ANYTHING.

Either, you are Nuclear ready and seen as "dangerous", or not...and deemed "weak". Your choice.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

First strike has never been an option. Fascism, Imperialism, totalitarianism use such as an option. A democratic system should never, ever use such as an option. Diplomacy and reason have to prevail. War is a last resort and only as self defense. Start working with China, Russia and the UN. Close all US military bases that act as a direct threat and provocation around the world. Defuse the tessions rather than escalate them. But that would require wisdom, intelligence and long term reasoning. Follow Willy Brandt and Michael Gorbachev their models. Wars are the politics of idiots without conscience.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

What puzzles me is why has this "nut case" running North Korea not been take out?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Either, you are Nuclear ready and seen as "dangerous", or not...and deemed "weak". Your choice.

Or you could just keep your nose out of things and work on creating good international relations. A few good examples of that instantly come to mind.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected .” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

... Sun Tzu, The Art of War Oh, so war is the goal here, right? Too bad this is not a reality version of The Last Samurai...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Successive governments have said Tokyo has the right to attack enemy bases overseas when the enemy’s intention to >>attack Japan is evident, the threat is imminent and there are no other defense options.

Just in that case it sounds pure propaganda and a ploy to armed the country which is Abe's plan from the beginning btw ! NK missile can badly leave the ground, there is zero evidence the country has the atomic bomb actually and there are other defense options to shutdown any incoming missile, the first strike is not necessary unless Japan does want to declare a war, kill people and launch a surprise attack...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Oh, so war is the goal here, right?"

“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

There are however many instances where war is justified.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

when the enemy’s intention to attack Japan is evident, the threat is imminent and there are no other defense options

I think the above quoted rationale behind a first strike is reasonable, although these parameters need to be scrutinized heavily and ratified by parliament or a bipartisan military council before any action is taken. I also think the "there are no other defense options" heavily limits the scenarios in which a first strike could be executed, considering that the USA also contributes to the defense of Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

There are however many instances where war is justified.

That one I can agree with! But I would prefer to interpret this issue as one where good diplomacy should override preemptive militarism.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

“I don’t know whether that would be with ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or even the F-35 (fighter bomber), but without a deterrence North Korea will see us as weak.”

and unfortunately this is the current state of the world, and has ever been. I hate to fight and abhor all kinds of violence, but if you don't fight back the bully will just go stronger, that's exactly why I never had any problems with bullies in Japan because I know exactly how it starts (strange pats on the back, little weak punches on your arm) and the only way to make it stop and not escalate: to give back every single small violence toward you. This is how you stop NK from launching missiles on you, otherwise next news will be "rocket fells in a small coast town, nobody is hurt. PM said he condemns the actions of NK."

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The government need access to the huge US intelligence gathering capability, satellite mapping/terrain data, real-time interception of communications etc. Also specialist advice and collaboration partnerships with the UK national strategy for maritime security would be beneficial, both having island cultures.

The LDP’s policy council on security and numerous committees may not be representative of the necessary expertise , and specialist knowledge gained from experience. All essential to make technical and costly decisions. Japans defense cannot be reliant on bureaucrats, the unaccountable hereditary shoo-in's. Seat warmers for the next generation of incompetent born into entitlement cardboard cut-outs.

The public must be able to sleep at night in the confidence that the person with their finger over the button has arrived at that point through proven knowledge and achievement. The US Japan alliance works well, as long and the commitment moves in both directions. At least the difficult questions that need to be answered are being debated.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There are however many instances where war is justified.

War is never justified. It only happens when someone has taken an unreasonable stance.

Defending against a warring state is justified. Attacking a state is not.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japan should only buy from the US.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

You either do a regime change, or you don't attack at all. Any worthless 'surgical' strike on NK will risk Seoul, SK's largest city turning into debris in NK's artillery retaliation. This is why the US have never attempted anything beyond defensive measures.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hope Japan rearms and starts teaching the sissy boys here how to fight. Send our American troops home as they are mostly seen (unfairly) as criminals, drunks and whatever other negative thing you can find. The population as a whole (especially on Okinawa) don't appreciate them, are ungrateful, and whine constantly about their presence. Let these 2 duke it out on their own and stay out of it. This isn't our fight.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

@Smithinjapan

"Although Japan shouldn't even have a military...."

That's not fact, that's your opinion. Are you even Japanese? If not then you probably haven't got a say., just as a citizen here has no say in your nations military. Typical first world western response to assume they know what others should and should not do.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

****Albert Einstein — 'Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe .'

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@smithinjapan - I am also perplexed as to why Japan should not have a military? Can you expand on that?

@Mocheake - since most of North Korea's threats are against the United States I believe this is very much our fight (or issue rather)

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The first strike option is still against the constitution. Furthermore, if Japan initiates a first strike capability they will have to rename the military because it will no longer be a self defense force.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan only need take out one guy.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I do support the first strike policy but does Japan can substain Kim's retaliation actions?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What will be achieve from NK missile threat is Japan will became a arms maker. I can not see any real military action occurring other then a lot positioning and sabra rattling. Kim has other problem at home he needs to take care of. Today Kim murdered heft brothers Son has release a video. This action alone is a show for the resistance which is building in NK. There is no other reason for the son to come out and comment, other then to show People in NK that he is blood of the former leader and alive and putting himself out there and he will be a better option then his Crazy Dictator uncle.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hi smithinjapan, It is difficult to argue that some of the more right wing elements of Abe san LDP government, could or would, with the means at hand, strike first and ask questions later.

To coin a phrase, the clear and present danger that Pyongyang will launch an attack is real, with nuclear weapons that can incinerate any of Japans towns or cities. No responsible government under this type of threat can just sit there and do nothing. There are emergency measures that can be used that does not require the abandonment of Japans pacifist constitution.

The government of Japan can't produce the capability to launch a preemptive strike out of thin air. Any first strike policy must have the full support of the Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

But everyone jumped on the 'We're in imminent danger, and need to pre-emptively strike' puke wagon. Fast forward a decade, and suddenly the Chilcot report confirms what I had been saying all along (often to the scorn of others).

the current situation is completely different. saddam wasn't firing missiles directly at the US. NK, on the other hand, has stated that the last firing of missiles was target practice for hitting japan. if your next door neighbor was threating you and your family with guns, wouldn't you want guns, too, to not only protect but also act as a deterrence?

that being said, the US would probably never allow japan to possess this deterrent because it would lead to a huge arms race in the region. this would be the start of WWIII.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

What's known is Pyongyang has fissionable material to manufacture a nuclear warhead. Pyongyang also has the means of delivery, a ballistic missile capable to strike the Japanese mainland.

So the question follows, does the US and Japanese governments wait until one ends up attached to the other heading towards Japan, and any one of the US bases stationed there?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

NK's objective in developing a nuke-carrying ICBM is to remove the US umbrella from Japan and South Korea. Once a US President is in a position where protecting Niigata or Busan may cost him Honolulu or Anchorage the calculation becomes a lot more difficult and Japan may well be left to its own devices. That is the scenario which the government must prepare for.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is a dicey situation. There are two types of warfare: conventional and nuclear. While taking out the platforms before launching takes place in a first strike is preferable, it is almost a given that an attack from North Korea would be nuclear and suicidal. And waiting to be attacked before retaliating? Naive at best. Japan isn't now and may never be capable of a successful first strike using only their armed forces, but if America, Japan, and South Korea coordinated a conventional first strike then I think that it would be a plausible method of achieving the goal. Is it possible that that could take place without North Korea getting wind of it before it happened? But, North Korea is similar to a cancer that has metastasized. Therefore, I hope it never comes to that stage where a first strike is necessary. All in all, a very bleak situation. Mr. Abe has his work cut out for him.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

nakanoguy01Mar. 09, 2017 - 01:41PM JST

if your next door neighbor was threating you and your family with guns, wouldn't you want guns, too, to not only protect but also act as a deterrence?

You've answered you own question there. And this is why JP should be ( and should have started long ago) seeking more diplomatic routes with its neighbors (not only NK). The fact is that Japan already has far better 'defense' capabilities than NK could ever have. Don't forget the already comprehensive systems that are in place.

If JP should be doing anything to negate the threat as it sees it; they should be ensuring that the U.S. is taking proper responsibility with its defense duties of Japan. As we know, it was a mistake to allow Japan to arm in the past - and the psyche has not changed.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

where is all this tough talk when China sends war boats into Japanese waters?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

China purports to want stability in East Asia, but then they keep making territorial encroachment, building false islands, and supporting and arming North Korea. This situation has festered too long. I hope Trump is up to the job. Living in Tokyo I fear missiles could actually make it here.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

So going from pacifist country to having a first strike option in the space of a few years? Sad, very sad.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The current LDP leadership shouldn't be put within even sniffing distance of such power

0 ( +4 / -4 )

All i can say dont let it happen as soon as their missiles or rocket launch send up anti missiles and planes then fire all nuclear weapons you can get your hands on at north Korea as its an act of war the world should support you on this action its too late after event threats end up action so make very sure your ready for Nuclear conflict with shelters etc

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@Agent X

Liberals go by ideals and not their head. They'll die screaming "love your neighbor" as their neighbors (who don't love them) invade and slaughter them. Thus the lack of em throughout history, they keep on getting eliminated.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The US currently pushing Japan to be more proactive like this

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@thepersoniamnow I guess decades of getting bogged down in multi-trillion dollar pointless foreign bloodbaths hasn't taught you much eh?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If US military can't help Japan, order them to move to S Korea. Then try diplomatic approach. China wouldn't mind as long as Japan does not lose temper. History. NK did not lose Korean War. China never won wars against Japanese attack. Abe will be in Europe very soon. He might be giving up ability w US military.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Strangerland,

Premise 1: War is never justified.

Premise 2: Defending against a warring state is justified.

When one defends against an unreasonable attacker, with military force, then that is WAR. Period.

In your first premise, you categorically state that war is NEVER justified. Then in your second premise, you give a scenario where it IS JUSTIFIED.

Do you not see your contradiction?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can see how you would see it that way.

I'll re-phrase it then:

Premise 1: Attacking another state is never justified.

Premise 2: Defending against a warring state is justified.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Strangerland,

Thank you! Much clearer!

Now, if I may inquire further?

You claim that in defense only, is war justified. Ok, fair enough. May I ask, is it justified when ones own safety is not at risk, but the safety of others is at stake? In other words, think of WW2, the Germans killing Jews....US citizens, in their own soil, wree not being harmed....was war justified to protect another?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan will increase trade with other countries in Asia and get consensus of others a provisional before planning to punish Kim. About time t get rid of useless U.S. military that has been occupying Japan too long.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

thepersoniamnowMar. 09, 2017 - 07:37PM JST Liberals go by ideals and not their head. They'll die screaming "love your neighbor" as their neighbors (who don't love them) invade and slaughter them. Thus the lack of em throughout history, they keep on getting eliminated.

I wouldn't know. My home nation is loved by its neighbors and we have good relationships because we communicate and negotiate like adults. Or perhaps it's because we have never invaded, mass-murdered them and then denied it. Not quite sure...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You claim that in defense only, is war justified. Ok, fair enough. May I ask, is it justified when ones own safety is not at risk, but the safety of others is at stake? In other words, think of WW2, the Germans killing Jews....US citizens, in their own soil, wree not being harmed....was war justified to protect another?

Honestly, no. I think we as other nations should offer refugee status to people escaping such a country. If there is a rebellion in that country, then the rebels can petition for assistance to the UN, and in such a case we would be being invited into the country by the citizens of that country.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hey Japan, let the US Forces worry about NK.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is exactly how idiot all over the modern history justified their militaristic hysteria. "Preemptive strike". What savagery...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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