Before Resigning, Prime Minister Makes A Final Push To Strengthen Japan’s Military – NPR
SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:
Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, is stepping down this week after eight years in office. With his career ending, he has made a final push to strengthen Japan’s military. As NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul, that push could affect the balance of power in Asia.
ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: At a press briefing last month to announce his resignation, Abe said the country faces an increasingly harsh security environment.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE: (Speaking Japanese).
KUHN: “North Korea has greatly improved its ballistic missile capabilities,” he said. He questioned if it’s enough just to be able to intercept those missiles and later suggested Japan also needs a missile arsenal as a deterrent. That could alter the security landscape in Asia. Sheila Smith, a Japan expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, points out that at the moment…
SHEILA SMITH: Japan is the only country in Northeast Asia that does not maintain ballistic missiles.