Japan Considring Preemptive Strike on North Korea
Japan said Monday it was considering whether a pre-emptive strike on the North’s missile bases would violate its constitution, signaling a hardening stance ahead of a possible U.N. Security Council vote on Tokyo’s proposal for sanctions against the regime. The vote itself could be delayed for several days, a news agency reported.
China asked Japan to postpone the vote until later this week and Japan is prepared to accept, Kyodo News agency said.
Japanese officials had earlier vowed to push ahead with a resolution that would impose sanctions on North Korea for its missile tests last week, but said Tokyo would not insist on a Monday vote.
Japan was badly rattled by North Korea’s missile tests last week and several government officials openly discussed whether the country ought to take steps to better defend itself, including setting up the legal framework to allow Tokyo to launch a pre-emptive strike against Northern missile sites. “If we accept that there is no other option to prevent an attack … there is the view that attacking the launch base of the guided missiles is within the constitutional right of self-defense. We need to deepen discussion,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said.
Considering how absolutely meaningless a U.N. resolution is, force seems the preferable of those two options. Still, as I’ve written numerous times before on this subject, it’s not entirely clear there are any good military options, either.
This story is particularly amusing, however, given its coincidence with TIME’s cover story on “The End of Cowboy Diplomacy” and approving CNN summary of the same name. I wouldn’t start playing “Happy Trails” just yet.