Japan Approves Long-Debated Preemptive ‘Counterstrike’ Capability

Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force
Issei Kato / Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Japan Approves Long-Debated Preemptive ‘Counterstrike’ Capability

The Japanese government agreed on December 2 to give the nation’s military “counterstrike capabilities.” These authorize use of missiles to preemptively strike enemy missile launch sites before missiles can be fired toward Japan.

Next year, Japan will deploy a network of 50 satellites to enable the counterstrikes and will start building some 130 new ammunition depots to house long-range standoff missiles for the operation.

This is a crucial, historic decision that rectifies our nation’s mistaken postwar defense policy. Protecting Japan and the Japanese people, come what may, is the greatest duty of any political party. The decision by the ruling parties deserves high praise.
Sankei Shimbun, Japanese daily paper

Relaxing Article 9: This provision in Japan’s Constitution prohibits the nation from engaging in any military activities beyond strict self-defense against attacks that threaten Japan’s survival. It has long prevented the government from authorizing the military preemptive strike. But deteriorating regional security is prompting more Japanese lawmakers to adopt a looser view of Article 9.

  • This is for three main reasons: North Korea’s repeated missile launches; China’s increased provocations against Taiwan; Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine

On December 5, Russia also stationed missile systems on the Kuril Islands, parts of which are claimed by Japan, in the latest instance of Moscow militarizing the disputed territory.

Overshadowed by the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s recent and rapid militarization of a group of islands claimed by Japan has flown largely under the radar.

—Center for Strategic and International Studies

Along with giving Japan’s military counterstrike authorization, Japanese officials are also doubling the nation’s defense spending and mulling the development of at least 10 new kinds of missiles, including hypersonic models.

History says: Japan’s return to militarism is a trend the Trumpet watches carefully, partly because history shows that in times of war, Japan can descend into a nightmarish kind of fanaticism and brutality. The history of World War ii makes this alarmingly clear, as do some of Japan’s earlier military chapters. It was recognition of this that prompted American officials to include Article 9 in Japan’s Constitution after its World War ii defeat.

Prophecy says: The book of Revelation discusses an Asian army called the “kings of the east” that will be comprised of a stunning 200 million soldiers. Ezekiel 38 and 39 show that Russia and China will lead this massive force, and Ezekiel 38:6 specifies that “Gomer” and “Togarmah”—names referring to the main peoples who make up modern Japan—will also comprise a key part of the alliance. Today, animosity is surging between the peoples of Japan and those of China, Russia and North Korea. But from these passages, we should expect Japan to eventually lay this animosity aside and join forces with the Russia-China axis.

Learn more: The significance of Japan’s moves away from pacifism and toward militarism is explained in our Trends article “Why the Trumpet Watches Japan’s March Toward Militarism.”