Japan-US defense revisions postponed
TOKYO — Japan and the United States have decided to delay revising the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, which the two countries had earlier agreed to do by the end of this year, it was learned Tuesday.
According to Japanese government sources, Tokyo and Washington have agreed to postpone the release of a final report on the revision of the defense cooperation guidelines and instead aim to compile it in the first half of next year.
The Japanese and U.S. governments decided to hold up action on the document because because work to draw up security legislation, which reflects the Cabinet decision in July to allow limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense, has been delayed by factors including Sunday's election.
The two governments will make arrangements to release the new defense cooperation guidelines after unified local elections scheduled for April, the sources said. The official announcement to delay the revision of the defense cooperation guidelines will be made by the two governments as early as later this week.
The Japanese and U.S. governments also discussed a plan to hold the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee, also known as two-plus-two security talks, involving foreign and defense ministers from both countries.
The content of the defense cooperation guidelines, stipulating the division of roles between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military, needs to be reflected in security legislation. However, the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito made little progress in talks on the issue due to Sunday's lower house election. The ruling parties considered it "unavoidable" to delay the release of the final report on the revision of the defense cooperation guidelines, according to a government official.
Komeito, meanwhile, attaches great importance to the unified local elections scheduled for April. Some Komeito members are cautious toward releasing the new defense cooperation guidelines before the unified local elections.