The United States could provide offensively geared weapons to the Japanese military within five years, Tokyo officials say. The discussions between the two countries come as Japan’s rivalry with China intensifies and alliances shift among Pacific powers.
The talks with the US cover what Japan regards as a “strike capability,” and are still preliminary. As such, they do not cover specific hardware at this stage, three Japanese officials involved in the process told Reuters. US officials said there were no formal discussions between the two countries, but did not rule out the possibility that informal talks on the issue had taken place. One American official said Japan had approached the US informally last year about the matter.
Japan would need US backing for any shift in military doctrine because it would change the framework of the alliance, often described as America supplying the “sword” of forward-based troops and nuclear deterrence while Japan holds the defensive “shield.”
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