Japan eyeing permanent law for Self-Defense Forces dispatch

Japan eyeing permanent law for Self-Defense Forces dispatch
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

JAPAN - The government is considering the creation of a permanent law to enable dispatch of the Self-Defence Forces to provide logistical support for multinational forces for the purpose of international cooperation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a Diet session.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito will resume discussions on security-related bills on Friday. Abe apparently intended to clearly explain his own thoughts ahead of the talks, as Komeito is cautious about creating such a permanent law.

Expressing his willingness to create a new law to allow the dispatch of the SDF as needed, Abe said at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Thursday, "If the government creates a special measures law to respond to each different case, it would raise the question of whether it is possible to deal with an emergency situation immediately when the Diet is closed."

Concerning conditions for the dispatch of the SDF, Abe expressed his intention to include Diet approval as a requirement, saying, "It is a general rule to consider a Diet decision."

A Cabinet decision made in July last year includes the term "seamless security responses," and Abe apparently expressed his acknowledgment that special measures laws are insufficient for such a provision.

So far the government has handled situations involving SDF logistical support missions and other activities by creating special measures laws - such as the special measures law on terrorism enacted in 2001 and the 2003 law concerning the special measures on humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Iraq.

Many Komeito members are cautious about creating a permanent law, with party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi saying, "We should carefully examine why previous governments dealt with past situations by creating special measures laws."

The government and the LDP intend to retain the law governing SDF operations to assist US military forces during an emergency in areas surrounding Japan - which assumes a contingency on the Korean Peninsula - out of consideration for Komeito.

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