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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Statement by Prime Minister

September 11, 2020

  1. For the last seven years and eight months since I assumed the office of Prime Minister, Japan’s security policy has made significant progress. The Legislation for Peace and Security was passed, which has made the Japan-U.S. Alliance more robust. We have been striving to make the environment surrounding Japan more secure by enhancing Japan’s own defense capability, strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, and establishing cooperative relations with other countries, based on the vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
  2. Japan’s security environment is becoming more testing. In particular, North Korea retains hundreds of ballistic missiles with a range that covers Japan. North Korea is assessed to have already successfully miniaturized nuclear weapons, and to possess the capability to launch an attack on Japan with ballistic missiles fitted with nuclear warheads. It is also pointed out that new types of short-range ballistic missiles launched last year were developed in an attempt to breach missile defense networks. There is also a concern that such advanced technology would be applied to longer-range missiles.
  3. Under such severe circumstances, what should we do to protect and defend the lives and the peaceful livelihoods of the Japanese people? The Government of Japan must do what it should. First, as to the suspension of the process of deploying Aegis Ashore, the Government has examined how it was decided, and already released the results. Further, the Government has been examining possible alternatives to Aegis Ashore, so as to ensure that Japan has an interception capability to defend itself from threats of ballistic missiles and others.
  4. Nevertheless, there is a question of whether it is possible to protect and defend the lives and the peaceful livelihoods of the Japanese people only by enhancing our interception capability. Under such thinking and in order to strengthen the deterrence, the Government of Japan has been considering a new course for security policy regarding countering missiles. Needless to say, such deliberation is being carried out within the scope of the Constitution and in compliance with international law, and Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented policy will not change at all. Nor will the basic role and mission sharing between Japan and the United States. The bond of the alliance will be strengthened if each side can assist each other. As such, I believe it is necessary to enhance deterrence and thereby further reduce the possibility of an attack against Japan by ballistic missiles and others.
  5. On these points, in thorough consultations with the ruling parties, the Government of Japan will identify policies to be undertaken by the end of this year to respond to the severe security environment surrounding Japan.
  6. The most consequential responsibility of the Government of Japan is to maintain Japan’s peace and security, to ensure its survival and to defend to the end Japanese nationals’ life, person and property of its nationals and territorial land, waters and airspace. This is the foremost responsibility that Japan must fulfill as a sovereign nation. Japan’s defense capability is the ultimate guarantor of its security and the clear representation of the unwavering will and ability of Japan as a peace-loving nation. The Government of Japan must continue working to maintain Japan’s peace and security, which is an essential premise for its prosperity.

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