Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government approved a proposed legislation to set up a National Security Council which is aimed at strengthening the country’s foreign policy and centralizing information gathering on external threats to the country. This is seen as Japan’s version of the White House’s National Security Council and the move is seen by US security experts as a positive move by the Japanese government.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that they have created a structure that would allow the government to closely and comprehensively monitor the security threats to the country, which includes North Korean missile threats and territorial disputes with China and South Korea. The bills will be submitted to the parliament session which will end on June 26. It is expected to be enacted in an extraordinary diet session during the fall.
During Abe’s first term as Prime Minister six years ago, he presented a similar legislation to the parliament but had to drop it after his resignation due to cabinet-level scandals and the Liberal Democratic Party’s heavy losses in the Upper House election. Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said last month that Japan did not have a process which would allow the Prime Minister to get all the information quickly to be able to make big decisions. “This formation of an NSC will be very key to Japan’s decision-making as we move forward,” Armitage was quoted as saying.
The proposed security council framework, the prime minister, chief cabinet secretary, foreign and defense ministers will have regular meetings to create a security policy, and relevant ministers will be called on to respond to emergency situations. The ministers would also have to provide information to the council in a timely manner so that they could take a commanding role in decision-making and setting security policies. Koichi Oizumi, professor at Aomori Chuo Gakuin University, said that this security council is a step in the right direction for Japan but it would also take time and money to properly train good intelligence specialists.
[ via Reuters ]