Japan's ruling coalition reaches deal on expanding operations of Self-Defense Forces

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Lance Cpl. Jonas G. Dewald, right, instructs a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force member during sniper stalk lane training Dec. 2, 2014, in the Oyanohara Training Area in Yamato, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan. (Drew Tech/U.S. Marine Corps)
Lance Cpl. Jonas G. Dewald, right, instructs a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force member during sniper stalk lane training Dec. 2, 2014, in the Oyanohara Training Area in Yamato, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan. (Drew Tech/U.S. Marine Corps)

Japan's ruling coalition reaches deal on expanding operations of Self-Defense Forces

by: The Yomiuri Shimbun | .
The Yomiuri Shimbun | .
published: March 20, 2015

TOKYO — Japan's governing coalition has effectively reached an agreement on new security legislation that, if passed, will significantly expand the range of operations by the country's the Self-Defense Forces.

On Wednesday, the Liberal Democrats and Komeito — Japan's two ruling parties — basically agreed on the overall shape of the security laws, which cover five main fields, including the overseas dispatch of SDF personnel and the exercise of the nation's right of collective self-defense in limited situations.

The government and the ruling parties plan to submit bills on the security legislation to the Diet in mid-May.

The bills will remove many of the restrictions currently imposed on Japan's national security policies.

On Wednesday, the LDP and Komeito held a meeting of ruling coalition lawmakers on security legislation at the Diet.

A joint draft document summarizing the discussions held by this committee thus far was presented by meeting chairman and LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura and Komeito deputy leader Kazuo Kitagawa, the vice chair.

After the joint document, which was titled "Regarding the concrete direction of the development of security legislation," was submitted, each party held an internal meeting and approved the document.

The LDP and Komeito were to formally reach a final agreement on the joint document during ruling party talks on Friday.

The government plans to compile bills related to the legislation by mid-April and submit them to the Diet in mid-May after they have been reviewed during ruling party deliberations.

The joint document spells out the three principles Komeito had demanded as preconditions for the development of the security legislation — any dispatch must have legitimacy under international law; it must have the people's understanding and democratic control; and the safety of SDF personnel dispatched overseas must be ensured.

It also indicated the specific direction of legislation covering five key areas, including how to respond to so-called gray zone incidents, which cannot easily or immediately be deemed an armed attack, and support activities for military forces of other nations conducting operations that contribute to the peace and security of Japan.

The other three areas were making further contributions to the peace and security of the international community; self-defense steps that are permissible under Article 9 of the Constitution; and other legal amendments related to such issues.