Japanese Defence Minister Nakatani would have been very busy in the last 48 hours given all the bad news from North Korea. (Photo courtesy newslookup(dot)com)
North Korea's latest nuclear test and SLBM ejection test has stimulated ongoing discussions on possible future responses. These North Korean intentions or nuclear advances have put strategic relations with Japan under some strain and review.
Submarine launched Tomahawk missiles are something the US and UK have used in the Middle East though only against countries with weak or no real military forces. Russia has recently launched Tomahawk-like Kalibr missiles but only against weak enemies.
As North Korea has ballistic missiles well within range of Japan, Japan may consider developing quick striking ballistic missile forces. See the last section Japanese Ballistic Missiles/Rockets of this post.
While many Japanese comments on pre-emptive strike on North Korea have been deleted from the Internet some remain.
Reuters via Business Insider December 23, 2014 reports http://www.businessinsider.com/r-japan-pm-set-to-launch-new-government-defense-minister-may-rile-china-2014-12?IR=T
“Abe was expected to tap Gen Nakatani for the defense portfolio in a nod to worries about growing threats from nuclear-armed North Korea and China.” [Nakatani was subsequently appointed Defence Minister. "Gen" is just a first name not a former military high command position.].
“Nakatani is a former defense minister who is in favor of Japan having the ability to hit enemy bases pre-emptively in the face of imminent attack.”
“"If you think what would happen if the United States withdrew, we must consider (acquiring) the ability to respond, because we cannot just sit idly and await death," Nakatani told Reuters earlier this year .”
In September 10, 2014 Reuters via http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/09/japan-us-military-weapons_n_5794414.html reported:
While Japan's intensifying rivalry with China dominates the headlines, Tokyo's focus would be the ability to take out North Korean missile bases, said three Japanese officials involved in the process.
They said Tokyo was holding the informal, previously undisclosed talks with Washington about capabilities that would mark an enhancement of military might for a country that has not fired a shot in anger since its defeat in World War Two.
The talks on what Japan regards as a "strike capability" are preliminary and do not cover specific hardware at this stage, the Japanese officials told Reuters.
Defense experts say an offensive capability would require a change in Japan's purely defensive military doctrine, which could open the door to billions of dollars worth of offensive missile systems and other hardware. These could take various forms, such as submarine-fired cruise missiles similar to the U.S. Tomahawk.
U.S. officials said there were no formal discussions on the matter but did not rule out the possibility that informal contacts on the issue had taken place. One U.S. official said Japan had approached American officials informally last year about the matter."
Japanese Ballistic Missiles/Rockets
See Submarine Matters:
- Japan's Epsilon Rocket, An ICBM in Waiting, December 22, 2013.
- Japanese Rocket and Missile Expansion Possibilities, February 23, 2012.