It looks like Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s desire to lift the country’s self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense will face a lot of challenges before it actually becomes reality. At the scheduled interparty discussion on May 27, the two parties making up Japan’s ruling coalition –Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and junior coalition partner the New Komeito – were decidedly at odds at the scenarios brought to the table by the LDP as to when the government can exercise collective self-defense.
The LDP led the talks by pointing out 15 different scenarios that would pose security and defense threats to Japan, where theoretically the nation can take up arms and defend itself from the threat. But the lawmakers and representatives of the New Komeito pointed out a lot of gaps in the arguments of the LDP members, and Abe’s hope of making official Cabinet announcements regarding collective self-defense by the end of the current Diet session (June 22) seems hopeless at this point. The interparty discussions were set so that a policy direction can be agreed upon, but the New Komeito has raised concerns on the scenarios. New Komeito’s deputy chief Kazuo Kitagawa had a number of objections, and after the talks declared, “Conclusions and how to proceed with the discussion from now on are up in the air.”
The first scenario on the list, for instance, is written as “responses to illegal activities on remote islands and elsewhere”, and stipulates that Japan’s Self-Defense Force (SDF) can take action on these situations, and even on Japan’s mainland where the responsibility lies on the police. Kitagawa argued that there was no sense in expanding the role of the SDF from what it has now. Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) had disagreed before with similar proposals from the SDF, saying that the SDF’s participation was not necessary at all. And according to the New Komeito, if the SDF moved to protect U.S. military vessels under attack – as Abe has been pushing towards – there might be a possibility that the whole of Japan will be dragged into the conflict. In the case of a nuclear attack, protecting U.S. vessels would mean Japan might risk nuclear attack on its own country.
[via Global Post]
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