Japan will never be drawn into US war, says Abe

Japan will never be drawn into US war, says Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews Japanese Self-Defence Forces' troops during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka, near Tokyo, in this October 27, 2013 file photo.

PM Abe stresses the Self-Defence forces will only provide logistic support in areas where safety is secured

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed Wednesday that the Self-Defence Forces will only provide logistic support in areas where safety is secured, and that Japan will never become embroiled in a war involving the United States.

In a one-on-one Diet debate with Abe during question time, Katsuya Okada, president of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, stressed that the country's security legislation would upend the pacifist Constitution, saying, "The SDF's activities will be significantly expanded."

Okada said the SDF will be exposed to an increased risk of combat if it is engaged in logistic support for US forces near combat zones.

"It is clearly stipulated that an SDF officer in charge will use his own judgment in suspending [logistic support]," Abe said, adding that the SDF engaged in such activities would leave whatever area they are in if there is a threat of it becoming a combat zone. "We will offer logistic support in areas where safety is secured," he stressed.

Emphasising that it is natural for Japan to contribute to international peace, Abe said, "Peace in other regions and within the international community is important for Japan's peace."

Okada also asked Abe if the security-related bills would allow the SDF to exercise the right of collective self-defence in another country's territory and waters.

Abe stressed that three new conditions on the use of force serve as an effective brake, saying, "We will never use force unless the three new conditions [on the use of force] are met."

A Cabinet decision in July last year stated the right could be exercised under the following three new conditions for the use of force:

An armed attack takes place against Japan or a foreign country with which Japan has close relations, and Japan's survival is threatened with a clear danger that the people's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be fundamentally undermined.

There are no appropriate alternatives.

The use of force is kept to the minimum necessary.

Abe added that the SDF "will not land in another country's territory to engage in combat operations" and "We will not conduct large-scale airstrikes."

Okada also asked Abe if it is really possible for him to clearly state that Japan would never be dragged into a war involving the United States.

In response, Abe said Japan would never become embroiled in such a war against its own will. "Unless Japan's survival is threatened, we will never engage in combat," Abe said.

Abe also held one-on-one debates with Japan Innovation Party leader Yorihisa Matsuno and Japanese Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii.

"We want to have an open discussion on amending the Constitution and we hope for thorough deliberations on the security legislation," Matsuno said.

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