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The February 3, 2022 session of the NPI series, "Ask What You Want to Know" on "Japan's Missile Defense and Counterattack Capability."

The NPI "Ask What You Want to Know" series is a forum in which leading researchers discuss issues of current interest and field questions from the attendees.

The security environment surrounding Japan is becoming more and more severe every year, as China's missile capability is rapidly making remarkable improvement, and North Korea has launched a series of missiles since the beginning of 2022. Reflecting this situation, there has been active discussion in the Diet and in the press about Japan's possession of its own counterattack capability against missile attacks by China and North Korea, and public interest in how to protect Japan from such threats has never been higher. In response to this awareness of the issue, the speakers provided explanations and answered questions from the attendees.


Tokuchi Hideshi, Senior Research Advisor, NPI


Koda Yoji, Former Commander in Chief, Self-Defense Fleet, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

Mori Satoru, Professor, Hosei University; Senior Fellow, NPI

The questions posed to the panelists on the day were organized into the following four themes.

1. Can Japan's current missile defense system effectively deal with ballistic missiles, especially those with an irregular trajectory?

2. Why is North Korea repeatedly launching missiles when it is said to be in the midst of a set of three difficulties: Novel Coronavirus, sanctions, and natural disasters?

3. In the current situation when the attacking side is overwhelmingly superior, there is a limit to missile defense alone. If this is the case, Japan needs to have the capability to attack the other side. In Prime Minister Kishida's policy speech in January 2022, he said that Japan would not rule out any options and that they would be considered realistically. What specific options do you think are available? In particular, with regard to the "enemy base attack capability," what kind of capability can be considered?

4. What does the U.S. government think about Japan's possession of so-called "enemy base attack capability"?

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