A panel of advisers to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is drafting a proposal to revise the interpretation of the Constitution seeking to allow Japanese peacekeepers to employ force in certain situations. The proposal to reinterpret “international disputes” will be included in a report to be submitted to the premier by April.
Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security Shinichi Kitaoka said that the proposal will allow members of the Self-Defense Forces in U.N. peacekeeping operations to use weapons in a range of situations, such as rescuing foreign troops on the same mission who come under attack in distant locations. The current Constitution’s Article 9 indicates that Japan “forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes,” which the public interprets as all international disputes. However, Kitaoka argued that, “In light of the history of international law, the words ‘international disputes’ should be interpreted as those in which Japan is involved.” Should it be changed, then SDF troops would be allowed use their weapons not just to protect themselves and other peacekeepers, but also to deter and confront threats.
While concerns on the vagueness of what would constitute as a right to use weapons has arisen, Kitaoka said that a need to establish standards for its implementation is essential. The report is expected to include five conditions to allow the right to use weapons. One example is when “a nation with close ties” comes under attack. Once Abe receives the report, he is to meet with the ruling parties to come up with a decision and policy on changing the interpretation at a Cabinet meeting.
[via Asahi Shimbun]