Sanae Takaichi, one of the contenders for the leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said she will ask the US to deploy intermediate-range missiles to the country as a deterrent against Pyongyang and Beijing.

“Deploying intermediate-range missiles is absolutely necessary to protect the lives and territory of the Japanese people,” Takaichi said on Sunday, as quoted by the Japan Times.

Takaichi said ground-based missiles will serve as a deterrent against North Korea and China, adding that, if appointed prime minister, she would proactively ask the US to deploy the weapons to Japan.

The politician’s statement came after Pyongyang announced on Monday that it had test-fired a new long-range cruise missile reportedly capable of hitting much of Japan. North Korea also reportedly tested a pair of ballistic missiles on Wednesday.

A member of the lower house of Japan’s parliament, Takaichi held several top positions in former prime minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet and twice served as minister of internal affairs and communications. Kyodo News described Takaichi as a staunch conservative who in the past proposed to amend the country’s constitution to allow “national defense forces” instead of the current more constrained Japan Self-Defense Forces, which were established after the Empire of Japan lost the Second World War to the Allied powers. (RT)