|Standard Missile 3 Block IIA is launched from the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex. © Global Look Press / US Navy|
North Korean media have condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement that he will review the country’s security policy and bolster its defenses, denouncing the move as an “extremely dangerous act.”
Abe revealed on Friday that Tokyo would consider acquiring preemptive strike capability to defend against enemy missile attacks, while keeping in line with its “exclusively defense-oriented” war-renouncing constitution.
Explaining the move, Abe said Japan needed to “renew” its discussions on “adequate deterrence” in light of North Korea’s advancing missile technology.
State news agency KCNA blasted Abe’s move, saying it could turn Japan into a “war-capable” state and would enable it to "legalize overseas invasion.” The North Korean agency warned Japan would “turn itself into the common enemy of humankind” if it made constitutional revisions.
Pyongyang said Japan's post-World War II constitution, which renounced war and limits the country's armed forces to operate only in self-defense, is a “legal commitment” to the international community.
KCNA also claimed a petition was signed by “hundreds of thousands” of citizens in opposition to the move, calling it an "eruption" of public anger. However, the petition in question could not be found online.
Earlier this week, Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono said the government would halt a plan to introduce the US-developed Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system over technical and cost issues.
The suspension sparked a political dispute in Japan, with the opposition saying the Defense Ministry should be held accountable for the 12 billion yen ($112 million) that Japan had already spent on the system.
The Aegis Ashore, a system of radars, computers, and missiles, was meant to help Tokyo counter weapons advances by North Korea, with Japan aiming to be the third country to introduce the system after Romania and Poland.
The government had originally guaranteed that the interceptor missile site would not become a hazard for residents living next to the facility, but ultimately could not guarantee that booster rockets for the interceptors would land in the correct locations. The Japanese defense minister said ensuring the safety of residents would require an expensive and time-consuming hardware upgrade, and the ministry said it was committed to considering alternatives.