For eight years, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been looking for ways around Japans pacifist constitution to bolster the country’s military. In his last full week on the job, he laid the groundwork for a plan to allow preemptive strikes on enemy bases.

Abe’s statement on missile defence Friday leaves a big piece of unfinished business for his top aide and likely successor, Yoshihide Suga. While few expect the long-time chief cabinet secretary to share Abe’s zeal for amending the constitution, hell be confronted with the same dilemma of how to counter growing threats from China and North Korea — and the same security demands from Japan’s sole ally, the United States (US)

Abe called for alternatives to defend against ballistic missiles, saying that new policies should be decided by the end of the year. He offered vague language on whether that meant strike capability, but added the plan must

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