Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a dove politician leading Kochikai with a pacifist stance among seven factions within Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, has announced a series of hardline policies. Some wonder if he changed sides.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by the prime minister published a pledge booklet on Tuesday ahead of an election for the House of Representatives on October 31. Same as the pledge booklet released in 2017, it claims that the Dokdo islets belong to Japan, adding that the party will respond with dignity to South Korea’s baseless criticism of Japan’s violation of international laws and historical issues. It also says that the party will strengthen cooperation with partners who share the universal values, such as the U.S., Australia, India, ASEAN, Europe, and Taiwan. South Korea is not on the list.
While the booklet does not mention the ability to attack enemy bases, which is met with opposition from the public, it specifies that the party will build a new system to enhance deterrence power, including the capability to stop ballistic missiles in counterparty’s territory. It is an indirect claim to have the ability to attack enemy bases. It also adds that defense capacity will be significantly strengthened from 2022 and that the country’s defense budget, which has been limited to one percent of GDP, may rise to over two percent of GDP.
Prime Minister Kishida’s statements are becoming more hawkish. Regarding the revision of the Japanese Constitution Article 9, which states that the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes, he said he was not considering it in June 2017. At a press conference held at the end of last month, however, Kishida said that he aims to revised four items in the Constitution, including Article 9, during his term as prime minister.