Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told Thursday’s parliamentary session that a missile attack on the U.S. territory would breach the U.S. deterrence against an attack on Japan. He said that would be a Japanese national emergency because it would threaten Japan’s existence as a nation.
He added that Japan can exercise the right to “collective” self-defense and activate the Aegis destroyer ship-to-air missile defence system.
Onodera’s comment underscores Japan’s growing military role and reverses its previous position that it can only shoot down missiles headed to Japan.
A defence law that took effect last year allows Japan’s military to defend U.S. and other allies when they come under enemy attack.
Japan is about 1,000 kilometres east of North Korea, which has conducted numerous missile tests this year. Most of the weapons have landed in the Sea of Japan.
Guam is around 2,500 kilometres south of Japan.