Japan's main ruling Liberal Democratic Party is set to hold a leadership election later this month. Three candidates outlined their policies on issues including diplomacy and national security ahead of the official campaign that starts on Friday.
The race will effectively choose the country's next prime minister.
Former LDP policy chief Kishida Fumio addressed China's growing hegemonistic activities.
He said, "We will pursue the stability of the Taiwan Strait, democracy in Hong Kong, and face the human rights issues in Uygur Autonomous Region. We will protect universal democratic values."
He added that he will set up a special advisor to the prime minister in charge of human rights issues.
Regulatory Reform Minister Kono Taro had a series of meetings with LDP lawmakers to seek their support.
Reporters asked his views on whether Japan should possess the capability to attack enemy bases.
He said, "We can exercise deterrence by showing our capability to shoot down missiles." He added that now is the time to discuss how to enhance deterrence under the framework of the Japan-US alliance.
Former Internal Affairs Minister Takaichi Sanae commented on North Korea's announcement that it successfully test-fired long-range cruise missiles. She said, "The missiles pose a big threat to us. It's time for Japan to have precision-guided missiles. It will be a race to disable the enemy bases first."
Former LDP Secretary-General Ishiba Shigeru is still considering whether to run.
LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Noda Seiko is still trying to secure the backing of 20 party lawmakers, which is required to enter the race.