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Japan begins debate over strike capabilities

Tokyo views such options as allowed under right to self-defense

Japan seeks an alternative to the Aegis Ashore missile shield as North Korea continues to pursue missile development.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Days after halting plans to purchase a land-based missile defense system, Japan will begin a formal debate on building capabilities to strike enemy missile launchers as a cheaper, more effective way to defend itself, arguing that such ability does not run counter to the nation's pacifist charter.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will start discussions Tuesday as the suspension of the Aegis Ashore missile shield set off a search for an alternative defense system.

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