TOKYO, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Japan's outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Friday said the country will come up with a new missile defense plan by the end of 2020.
The decision came after the government scrapped in June a plan to deploy the land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense system and started to consider an alternative to the expensive system.
"I believe we must improve our deterrence and reduce our country's risk of attacks by ballistic missiles and other means," Abe said, pointing out that there is no change to Japan's exclusively defense-oriented policy.
"While holding sufficient discussions with the ruling parties, (the government) will set an appropriate path within the year to deal with the difficult security environment surrounding Japan," he said in the statement released in his personal capacity without Cabinet approval.
In a press conference later, Abe said that while his successor is not strictly speaking bound by the year-end deadline, he is sure they will continue debate on the matter.
The Japanese government started full-fledged discussions in August on ways to counter ballistic missiles after a team of the Liberal Democratic Party called for the "possession of the ability to intercept ballistic missiles and others, even in the territory of an opponent."
Defense Minister Taro Kono said Wednesday in an event with the Center for Strategic and International Studies that he and others at the National Security Council are discussing ways to make Japan's deterrence stronger. Enditem